|03-16-2008, 12:42 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: South Wales, UK
Device: Sony PRS-500, PRS-505, Asus EEEpc 4G
Wu Ching-Tzu: The Scholars, v.1, 16 March 2008.
(Ru Lin Wai Shi)
Translated by Gladys Yang.
Started in 1740 and finished in 1750, this is a Chinese novel which is surprisingly modern in outlook, and very funny in places.
Set in the Ming period, the novel describes and often satirizes Chinese scholars in a vernacular Chinese idiom, although in a style that is more highbrow than the other famous vernacular novels. The first and last chapters portray recluses, but most of the loosely-connected stories that form the bulk of the novel are didactic and satiric stories, on the one hand holding up exemplary Confucian behavior, but on the other ridiculing over-ambitious scholars and criticizing the civil service examination system.
Promoting naturalistic attitudes over belief in the supernatural, the author rejects the popular belief in retribution: his bad characters suffer no punishment. The characters in these stories are intellectuals, perhaps based on the author's friends and contemporaries. Wu also portrays women sympathetically: the chief character Du treats his wife as a companion instead of as an inferior. Although it is a satiric novel, a major incident in the novel is Du's attempt to renovate his family's ancestral temple, suggesting the author shared with Du a belief in the importance of Confucianism.
Wu Ching-tzu, The Scholars, acquired from: http://www.munseys.com/book/18876/Scholars,_The
Available for non-commercial use under CC 3.0
I have corrected some obvious typos and reformatted, adding curly quotes, linked footnotes and a TOC. The hyphenation of the Chinese names is inconsistent. If any Chinese scholar pm’s me with a list of accurately hyphenated names then I will issue a corrected version.
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