Chinese Literature group anyone?

Would anyone be interested in forming a discussion group to discuss Chinese literature? I was thinking maybe meeting once or twice a month to discuss various selections of Chinese literature, and can continue or expand on discussions here. If there are enough people who have a good reading knowledge of Chinese that would be great, if not, we can choose pieces that also have readily available English translations (discussions would be in English as well). For those that can read modern Chinese, but not classical, I can get vernacular translations. For shorter pieces, I can make copies for everyone, but for books everyone would have to go out and buy them I suppose. This would also be a good opportunity for anyone who would be interested in starting to learn basic classical Chinese.

If anyone thinks this is a good idea, either post here or PM me.

I’d be up for the online part, as I’m in England and can’t commute to Taipei.

I found this topic very interesting to me.

I happen to try to find a good English translation of classic Chinese novel " Monkey Magic " (/ Shi Yu Chi / Journey to the west …etc. The Title of the book has been translated into many different names in English ) . Maybe you’ve read it or even enjoy it a lot ?

Briefly babble about my book searching for now.

I’m a woman from Taiwan, now reside overseas. I read some traditional Chinese during my high school days. I may not be able to commit to any kind of study group, but Chinese has been one of my favorate pasttime.

“Monkey” translated by Arthur Whaley (Waley?) maybe just such a Monkey book.

the short story “the pearl sewn shirt” is one of my faves, as is “cricket”. the chinese mulan far outpaces the ersatz disney magic. its almost as if they set out to ruin the story.

who was the guy running around the woods painting poems on cliffs and writing em on leaves and letting em blow where the winds went? letting others worry about collating them. he was a rocker. du fu? han shan? ah, they all start to come back now…the stories of girls who plot to get out of the singsong slavery who have all their savings stolen by mamma san. dozens of more hollywood movies out there waiting to be bungled and butchered. vin diesel as wu song…

Thank you for that " Monkey " answer. I know there are a lot of abridged versions out there. They are entertaining, but a full translation will be complete and good. Your info will be very useful.

I cannot instantly recognize the rest of the anecdotes you wrote about. But I want to say that you probably believe that some Chinese stories can be very beautiful . I think it is especiallly true when one can perceive the meaning of each single Chinese character/word.

Is “the pearl sewn shirt” about a married woman returning the big pearl to the new pursuer , with tears, she said she wished they had met before her heart had committed to her husband? Most likely I am wrong. Please don’t clarify at all, or all the delight from you mentioning it will die.

This is a good one I just thought about.

Dear Sunkenfish,

Why do you call it

I’m interested in joining the group. I suggest we meet twice a month. What text do you want to read first? I’d like to read the Four Books using the Zhu Xi commentary, but I’m open to anything.


I promise not to use Tongyong as well :smiley:

[quote=“Feiren”]I’m interested in joining the group. I suggest we meet twice a month. What text do you want to read first? I’d like to read the Four Books using the Zhu Xi commentary, but I’m open to anything.


One other person suggested reading some Lu Xun short stories, which I’d also be up for… maybe that would be a good place to start because it’s not too difficult and we can better gauge everyone’s level from there … The Four Books isn’t really my forte (and I’m not a big fan of Zhu Xi either), but it’s something I need to know for my qualifiying exams, so I’m up for that as well. Actually, I’m pretty much up for anything … the only restriction would be the level of the other participants … at least one person who has responded doesn’t read Chinese so would have to follow along with an English translation. “Dream of the Red Chamber” is another possibility … there’s a good English translation (by David Hawkes) for those who can’t read Chinese, and even the Chinese text isn’t too difficult.

Dear skeptic yank,

That would have to be Han Shan.

Though Du Fu (

I’m so tempted to join a Chinese lit group – especially the talk of reading Zhu Xi’s commentaries on the Four Books. A big part of my MA thesis was translations of Zhu Xi’s commentary on Ox Mountain from the Mencius. But I’m also reminded that I hate Zhu Xi.

What about tackling the Zhuangzi? I’ve always wanted to try going through the whole thing, and attempted it twice, but never made it. It would be difficult, of course, but it could be fun.

Now, if I could only find the time…

It sounds like we’re at vastly different levels here… I wonder if it can work.
I’m going to be studying some Zhuangzi and Lu Xun this year. Possibly bits of Xi You Ji and Hong Lou Meng too, if there are enough people in my department who want to study it for the course to run. We’re on a collective downer at the moment as the men in suits have decided to close my department after 60 years of teaching of Chinese language and culture. 21st century Britain striding boldly forward.

I think its fairly safe that we can all discuss the ideas in whatever we decided to pick, but that may not be challenging enough for those of you at a higher level than I (which sounds like most of you). For the older stuff we’ll be using part original part translation. Lu Xun will be entirely in the original.

I don’t know, perhaps we can have a general discussion of themes and so on online, and those of you who are more hardcore can get together and do some closer textual analysis.

I PM’d LittleBuddhaTW about my interest. I’m the Lu Xun fan he mentioned. I also enjoy Zhu Zi-Qing and Lao She, among others.

I’d prefer to read most everything in the original, which means we have to exclude folks who can’t read Mandarin. I don’t see a way around this, unless you want to hold alternating sessions. Not a bad idea actually. There is some great Taiwanese literature in translation available that I’ve really enjoyed lately.

My only request is that we meet somewhere that sells either good tea or beer. Or both. Sunday afternoons are good for most people, right?