The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei, Volume One

The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei, Volume One : The Gathering

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In this first of a planned five-volume set, David Roy provides a complete and annotated translation of the famous Chin P'ing Mei, an anonymous sixteenth-century Chinese novel that focuses on the domestic life of Hsi-men Ch'ing, a corrupt, upwardly mobile merchant in a provincial town, who maintains a harem of six wives and concubines. This work, known primarily for its erotic realism, is also a landmark in the development of the narrative art form--not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical context.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 520 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 45.72mm | 997.9g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Abridged, Annotated
  • Revised ed.
  • 40 illus.
  • 0691016143
  • 9780691016146
  • 172,005

Back cover copy

"This is the first complete English translation of world literature and will immediately supersede all existing partial and abridged translations in that language. Even aside from the stunning achievement of the translation itself, the book represents a lifetime of meticulous scholarship on an enormous number of Sinological subjects. This work is the culmination of David Roy's entire scholarly career and a compendium of his vast learning in all phases of traditional Chinese civilization."--Andrew Plaks, Princeton University
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Table of contents

*Frontmatter, pg. i*Contents, pg. vii*List of Illustrations, pg. xi*Acknowledgments, pg. xiii*Introduction, pg. xvii*Cast of Characters, pg. xlix*Preface to the Chin P'ing Mei tz'u-hua, pg. 1*Preface to the Chin P'ing Mei, pg. 6*Colophon, pg. 7*Four Lyrics to the Tune "Burning Incense", pg. 8*Lyrics on the Four Vices to the Tune "Partridge Sky", pg. 10*CHAPTER 1. Wu Sung Fights a Tiger on Ching-yang Ridge; P'an Chin-lien Disdains Her Mate and Plays the Coquette, pg. 12*CHAPTER 2. Beneath the Blind Hsi-men Ch'ing Meets Chin-lien; Inspired by Greed Dame Wang Speaks of Romance, pg. 43*CHAPTER 3. Dame Wang Proposes a Ten-part Plan for "Garnering the Glow" Hsi-men Ch'ing Flirts with Chin-lien in the Teahouse, pg. 62*CHAPTER 4. The Hussy Commits Adultery behind Wu the Elder's Back; Yun-ko in His Anger Raises a Rumpus in the Teashop, pg. 82*CHAPTER 5. Yun-ko Lends a Hand by Cursing Dame Wang; The Hussy Administers Poison to Wu the Elder, pg. 96*CHAPTER 6. Hsi-men Ch'ing Suborns Ho the Ninth; Dame Wang Fetches Wine and Encounters a Downpour, pg. 111*CHAPTER 7. Auntie Hsueh Proposes a Match with Meng Yu-lou; Aunt Yang Angrily Curses Chang the Fourth, pg. 125*CHAPTER 8. All Night Long P'an Chin-lien Yearns for Hsi-men Ch'ing; During the Tablet-burning Monks Overhear Sounds of Venery, pg. 147*CHAPTER 9. Hsi-men Ch'ing Conspires to Marry P'an Chin-lien; Captain Wu Mistakenly Assaults Li Wai-ch'uan, pg. 170*CHAPTER 10. Wu the Second Is Condemned to Exile in Meng-chou; Hsi-men and His Harem Revel in the Hibiscus Pavilion, pg. 188*CHAPTER 11. P'an Chin-lien Instigates the Beating of Sun Hsueh-o Hsi-men Ch'ing Decides to Deflower Li Kuei-chieh, pg. 205*CHAPTER 12. P'an Chin-lien Suffers Ignominy for Adultery with a Servant; Stargazer Liu Purveys Black Magic in Pursuit of Gain, pg. 224*CHAPTER 13. Li P'ing-erh Makes a Secret Tryst over the Garden Wall; The Maid Ying-ch'un Peeks through a Crack and Gets an Eyeful, pg. 253*CHAPTER 14. Hua Tzu-hsu Succumbs to Chagrin and Loses His Life; Li P'ing-erh Invites Seduction and Attends a Party, pg. 274*CHAPTER 15. Beauties Enjoy the Sights in the Lantern-viewing Belvedere; Hangers-on Abet Debauchery in the Verdant Spring Bordello, pg. 298*CHAPTER 16. Hsi-men Ch'ing Is Inspired by Greed to Contemplate Matrimony; Ying Po-chueh Steals a March in Anticipation of the Ceremony, pg. 316*CHAPTER 17. Censor Yu-wen Impeaches Commander Yang; Li P'ing-erh Takes Chiang Chu-shan as Mate, pg. 337*CHAPTER 18. Lai-pao Takes Care of Things in the Eastern Capital; Ch'en Ching-chi Supervises the Work in the Flower Garden, pg. 356*CHAPTER 19. Snake-in-the-grass Shakes Down Chiang Chu-shan; Li P'ing-erh's Feelings Touch Hsi-men Ch'ing, pg. 376*CHAPTER 20. Meng Yu-lou High-mindedly Intercedes with Wu Yueh-niang; Hsi-men Ch'ing Wreaks Havoc in the Verdant Spring Bordello, pg. 401*APPENDIX I. Translator's Commentary on the Prologue, pg. 429*APPENDIX II. Translations of Supplementary Material, pg. 437*NOTES, pg. 449*BIBLIOGRAPHY, pg. 543*INDEX, pg. 573
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Review quote

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1994 "[A] book of manners for the debauched. Its readers in the late Ming period likely hid it under their bedcovers."--Amy Tan, New York Times Book Review "[I]t is time to remind ourselves that The Plum in the Golden Vase is not just about sex, whether the numerous descriptions of sexual acts throughout the novel be viewed as titillating, harshly realistic, or, in Mr. Roy's words, intended 'to express in the most powerful metaphor available to him the author's contempt for the sort of persons who indulge in them.' The novel is a sprawling panorama of life and times in urban China, allegedly set safely in the Sung dynasty, but transparently contemporary to the author's late sixteenth-century world, as scores of internal references demonstrate. The eight hundred or so men, women, and children who appear in the book cover a breath-taking variety of human types, and encompass pretty much every imaginable mood and genre--from sadism to tenderness, from light humor to philosophical musings, from acute social commentary to outrageous satire."--Jonathan Spence, New York Review of Books "David Tod Roy enters with zest into the spirit and the letter of the original, quite surpassing ... other earlier versions."--Paul St. John Mackintosh, Literary Review "Reading Roy's translation is a remarkable experience."--Robert Chatain, Chicago Tribune Review of Books "What Roy has already accomplished [in this volume] is enough to establish his translation as definitive... A tremendous achievement."--Charles Horner, Commentary
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About David Tod Roy

David Tod Roy (1933-2016) was professor emeritus of Chinese literature at the University of Chicago. His monumental five-volume translation of the Chin P'ing Mei was completed in 2013.
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Rating details

271 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 36% (98)
4 33% (89)
3 23% (61)
2 7% (19)
1 1% (4)
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