Journey to the West

20 May, 2021 890 Other literatures

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the great novels of China’s Ming era, and perhaps the most loved. Written in 1592, it draws on the celebrated travels of a real monk from China to India a thousand years before, and on a thousand years of retellings of that story, especially the addition of a monkey as companion who, in the novel, becomes supersimian. For most readers the monk, Tripitaka, is upstaged by this irrepressible Monkey with his extraordinary powers, accompanied by the fallen but recovering deities, Pigsy and Sandy.

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  • Julia Lovell 6 episodes
    Professor of Modern Chinese History and Literature at Birkbeck, University of London
  • Chiung-yun Evelyn Liu No other episodes
    Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Craig Clunas 5 episodes
    Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Trinity College, University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Printing and Book Culture in Late Imperial China
    Cynthia J Brokaw and Kai-wing Chow (University of California Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Demons, Gods, and Pilgrims: The Demonology of Hsi-yu Chi
    Rob Campany (Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, 7.1/2 July, 1985)
  • Cosmogony and Self-Cultivation: The Demonic and the Ethical in Two Chinese Novels
    Rob Campany (The Journal of Religious Ethics, 14.1 Spring, 1986)
  • The Journey to the West
    Wu Cheng'en (trans. Anthony Yu) (University of Chicago Press, 2012, 4 vols.) Google Books →
  • Monkey King: Journey to the West
    Wu Cheng'en (trans. Julia Lovell) (Penguin Classics, 2021) Google Books →
  • The Hsi-yu Chi: A Study of Antecedents to the Sixteenth-Century Chinese Novel
    Glen Dudbridge (Cambridge University Press, 1970) Google Books →
  • Out of the Margins: The Rise of Chinese Vernacular Fiction
    Liangyan Ge (University of Hawaii Press, 1997) Google Books →
  • The Silk Road Journey With Xuanzang
    Sally Hovey Wriggins (Basic Books, 2003) Google Books →
  • Wordless Test, Empty Hands: The Metaphysics and Materiality of Scripture in Journey to the West
    Andrew Hui (Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 75.1 June 2015)
  • Fictions of Enlightenment: "Journey to the West", "Tower of Myriad Mirrors" and "Dream of the Red Chamber"
    Qiancheng Li (University of Hawaii Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Imperial China 900-1800
    F. W. Mote (Harvard University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel: Ssu ta ch'i-shu
    Andrew H. Plaks (Princeton University Press, 1987) Google Books →
  • How to Read the Chinese Novel
    David L. Rolston (Princeton University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • Encyclopedia of the Novel
    Paul Schellinger (ed.) (Routledge, 1999) Google Books →
  • Transforming Monkey: Adaptation and Representation of a Chinese Epic
    Hongmei Sun (University of Washington Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Tradition and Creativity: Essays on East Asian Civilizations
    Ching-I Tu (ed.) (Transaction Books, 1987) Google Books →
  • A Masterpiece of Dissemblance
    Vincent Yang (Monumenta Serica, 60.1)

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Auto-category: 895 (Chinese Literature)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Journey to the West is one of the great novels of China's Ming era and perhaps the most loved.