Romance of the Three Kingdoms

27 Jun, 2013 950 History of Asia

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, widely regarded as one of the greatest works of Chinese literature. Written 600 years ago, it is an historical novel that tells the story of a tumultuous period in Chinese history, the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Partly historical and partly legend, it recounts the fighting and scheming of the feudal lords and the three states which came to power as the Han Dynasty collapsed. The influence of Romance of the Three Kingdoms in East Asia has been likened to that of Homer in the West, and this warfare epic remains popular in China today.

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  • Frances Wood 10 episodes
    Former Lead Curator of Chinese Collections at the British Library
  • Craig Clunas 5 episodes
    Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford
  • Margaret Hillenbrand No other episodes
    University Lecturer in Modern Chinese Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Wadham College

Reading list

  • Three Kingdoms and Chinese Culture
    Kimberly Besio and Constantine Tung (SUNY Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Public Success, Private Sorrow: The Life and Times of Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor (1857-1938), China Customs Commissioner and Pioneer Translator
    Cyril Cannon (Hong Kong University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel
    Luo Guanzhong (trans. Moss Roberts) (various publishers )
  • The Open Empire: A History of China to 1600
    Valerie Hansen (Norton, 2000) Google Books →
  • Reading Illustrated Fiction in Late Imperial China
    Robert E. Hegel (Stanford University Press, 1998)
  • The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Mao's Global Order of Tripolarity
    Lai Sing Lam (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel
    Andrew H. Plaks (Princeton University Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • How to Read the Chinese Novel
    David L. Rolston (ed.) (Princeton University Press, 1990) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. The empire long divided must unite.