Classical Chinese Novels 101
A nation's literary legacy...
For centuries, the literati of China wrote in Literary Chinese, crafted rigidly-structured essays, delighted in allusive poetry—and looked down on fiction as a lesser form of writing. Despite this, the stories and characters of China’s traditional novels have long influenced popular culture, and they are still readily apparent in both modern Chinese and East Asian culture.
This 101 series will serve as a basic introduction to China’s Four Great Classical Novels, as well as the entertainingly divergent (and often banned) Ming classic, Plum in the Golden Vase. In addition to discussing the development of Chinese long-form vernacular fiction, these articles will seek to present different critical interpretations of each novel, as well as highlight the insights that they offer into Chinese culture. As this series is designed for those without knowledge of Chinese or just beginning their studies of the language, Chinese names will be given in English, Chinese pinyin, and characters for the first appearance, and all subsequent references will use the English.
Classical Chinese Novels 101 is divided into six chapters:
1. Classical Chinese Novels 101: Introduction to the Traditional Chinese Novel
2. Classical Chinese Novels 101: The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
3. Classical Chinese Novels 101: Water Margin
4. Classical Chinese Novels 101: Journey to the West
5. Classical Chinese Novels 101: The Classic Erotic Novel, The Plum in the Golden Vase
6. Classical Chinese Novels 101: Dream of the Red Chamber