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The Journey to the West, volume 4, comprises the last twenty-five chapters of Anthony C. Yu's four-volume translation of Hsi-yu Chi, one of the most beloved classics of Chinese literature. The fantastic tale recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), one of China's most illustrious religious heroes, who journeyed to India with four animal disci The Journey to the West, volume 4, comprises the last twenty-five chapters of Anthony C. Yu's four-volume translation of Hsi-yu Chi, one of the most beloved classics of Chinese literature. The fantastic tale recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), one of China's most illustrious religious heroes, who journeyed to India with four animal disciples in quest of Buddhist scriptures. For nearly a thousand years, his exploits were celebrated and embellished in various accounts, culminating in the hundred-chapter Journey to the West, which combines religious allegory with romance, fantasy, humor, and satire.


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The Journey to the West, volume 4, comprises the last twenty-five chapters of Anthony C. Yu's four-volume translation of Hsi-yu Chi, one of the most beloved classics of Chinese literature. The fantastic tale recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), one of China's most illustrious religious heroes, who journeyed to India with four animal disci The Journey to the West, volume 4, comprises the last twenty-five chapters of Anthony C. Yu's four-volume translation of Hsi-yu Chi, one of the most beloved classics of Chinese literature. The fantastic tale recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), one of China's most illustrious religious heroes, who journeyed to India with four animal disciples in quest of Buddhist scriptures. For nearly a thousand years, his exploits were celebrated and embellished in various accounts, culminating in the hundred-chapter Journey to the West, which combines religious allegory with romance, fantasy, humor, and satire.

30 review for Journey to the West, Volume 4

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wreade1872

    As your disciples we are like your sons. There's another saying that goes A son does not have to shit silver or gold; As long as he can do what's needed he'll be fine. So this is not appreciably worse than the previous volumes but it doesn't really have any standout incidents. As such the repetitiveness got to me more than in the other parts so i deducted a star. It does have a proper ending which is nice. It seems like it had more descriptive poetry than before but i may have imagined that. Overall As your disciples we are like your sons. There's another saying that goes A son does not have to shit silver or gold; As long as he can do what's needed he'll be fine. So this is not appreciably worse than the previous volumes but it doesn't really have any standout incidents. As such the repetitiveness got to me more than in the other parts so i deducted a star. It does have a proper ending which is nice. It seems like it had more descriptive poetry than before but i may have imagined that. Overall this is a pretty good box set. Its very much 4 or 5 seasons of a monster of the week show in book form. Glad to get through it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I've finally finished the last volume and all 1878 pages of this particular edition of The Journey to the West. In total, it took me from May 11 to July 20, or a little over two months, to read through these, which, if one assumes my 100 page day commitment held steady enough, means I devoted roughly a little more than a quarter of my reading time on a 16th century adventure story that is as vital to a side of the world that I have never known as Shakespeare is to mine. The second and third volu I've finally finished the last volume and all 1878 pages of this particular edition of The Journey to the West. In total, it took me from May 11 to July 20, or a little over two months, to read through these, which, if one assumes my 100 page day commitment held steady enough, means I devoted roughly a little more than a quarter of my reading time on a 16th century adventure story that is as vital to a side of the world that I have never known as Shakespeare is to mine. The second and third volumes certainly paled in comparison to the beginning and end, and I wish I had had far more of the sort of translator's commentary that I was granted only a mere ten or so pages of at the very end, but for a first try, I am proud of my achievement and probably even learned a bit during the effort. While I doubt I'll ever reread it, I am open to reading texts that comment, analyze, or contextualize it in any fashion, as a work this long lived and this rich in cultural influence is always worthy of notice. As I had expected while midway through the third volume, the fourth volume was much less monotonous than the broad segment of adventures that had come before, almost but not quite matching up to the introductory chapters in terms of holistic overview, originality in narration, and character development. The closing afterword, which confirmed many of my feelings of repetition and broader cultural community (the mention of a diabolical Ming emperor under the influence of insidious Taoists is intriguing, to say the least) was a welcome acknowledgement of much of my thought processes while making my way through the tomes. The most interesting tidbit I carried away was the heavy influence theatrical performances had on the text, which made sense of how reading through the narratives felt for the most part like reading scripts, albeit very descriptive and poetic ones, of a long running action/adventure TV series. Of the real life Xuanzang I had already heard, and it was good to confirm that this rather pathetic characterization of his in the narrative had more to do with the need for narratological dynamic with Monkey and Pig than any weakness of his real life historical counterpart. I was also gratified to have picked up on the fact that the driving character conflict, as well as the character drive itself, centered around Sun Wukong, and I can begin to imagine how children in China and other countries where JttW has traversed are caught up with being like the Monkey King in his many media incarnations. It wasn't my childhood, but cultural awareness is the good of the world turning 'round, and a little bit can go a long way under the right circumstances. I'm not sure when I'm going to pick up my next multivolume project. There are a number of works I have on hand that I could commit to, but I feel I need to try out the balance between school and work before I keep my hobbies to as stringent a pace as I have been at the moment. It's good, though, to keep myself well oiled, as long term reading allows long term thinking and long term planning, and if I know one thing about adulthood, it's that patience is necessary, one arduous life changing effort at a time. JttW has some of that, if in a more simplistic form than my own experiences, and I can only hope that the 1800 page long assurance of ultimate success has rubbed off on my own endeavors. For now, though, I leave my volume set to others. I have other worlds ahead.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    Four volumes, many hundreds of juicy (and extremely helpful) endnotes, and 1,800+ pages later, and I have finished the 16th-century The Journey to the West, one of the great masterpieces of Chinese literature. What a ride! Enlightening, endearing, entertaining, and entirely unforgettable. I hope to put together a proper review soon!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sheppard

    THE JOURNEY TO THE WEST, THE CHINESE WIZARD OF OZ, THREE MUSKETEERS, DON QUIXOTE AND PILGRIM'S PROGRESS----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "The Journey to the West" (西遊記, Xi You Ji) is perhaps the most beloved book in China. It is once a great action, travel and adventure story, a mythic and phantasmagorical Odyssey and Quest, an epic of Buddhist pilgrimage and devotion, a comic classic, a tale of brother THE JOURNEY TO THE WEST, THE CHINESE WIZARD OF OZ, THREE MUSKETEERS, DON QUIXOTE AND PILGRIM'S PROGRESS----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF "The Journey to the West" (西遊記, Xi You Ji) is perhaps the most beloved book in China. It is once a great action, travel and adventure story, a mythic and phantasmagorical Odyssey and Quest, an epic of Buddhist pilgrimage and devotion, a comic classic, a tale of brotherhood and loyalty in the Musketeers tradition and a humanist allegory of the striving of disparate dimenbsions of the human condition, the organic-physical, the imaginative-intellectual, the quotidian-realistic and the aspirational-spiritual, towards human wholeness and unity. It is one of the four great classical novels of Chinese Literature, alongside the Dream of the Red Chamber, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the Water Margin, and is beloved in popular culture across East Asia outside of China, being the object of films, television, cartoons, video games and graphic novels from Japan to India. The Journey to the West, in broad outline, tells the story of the long,arduous and dangerous pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang, or Tripitaka of Tang Dynasty of China across the wastes and mountain barriers of Central Asia to obtain and translate the sacred scriptures of Buddhism (sutras) from India and bring them to enlighten the people of China and East Asia. This High Quest and Pilgrimage is joined by an extraordinary league of heroes, without whose aid the monk's mission would be doomed: The magical-mischievous Monkey-King Sun Wukong, the physically awesome and insatiable "Eight Precepts Pig" Zhu Bajie or Pigsy, the gritty and down-to-earth monk Sandy or Sha Wujing and the monk's faithful White Horse, Yujing, all recruited by Guanyin, the "Buddhist Virgin Mary" helping maternal spirit who overwatches them through their many trials and adventures. Together, this band of diverse heroes must overcome the perils of the arduous journey across the Himalayas, especially the demons, beasts and devils en route that wish to defeat their mission of bringing enlightenment to the peoples of China and the world. The most engaging and dominant of these questing heroes however, is the sly, mischievous and magically super-empowered Monkey-King Sun Wukong, who has become the immortal beloved central figure of the classic, such that many translations, such as Arthur Waley's early edition, was simply entitled: “Monkey." From our Western experience, then, how can we get an initial handle on and approach The Journey to the West? One of the first notional points of contact is to compare its characters with the group dynamics of the band of journeying fellows of Yellow Brick Road: the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion alongside Dorothy in Frank Baum's fantasy classic "The Wizard of Oz." Both classics of fantasy are beloved by children across the world. In the Wizard of Oz the Tin Man lacks a heart, the Scarecrow lacks a brain and the Cowardly Lion lacks courage, while Dorothy, although endowed with each in an immature form must grow and mature in each direction. In the Journey to the West, in contrast, each character is overindowed in one dimension----The Monkey-King has immensely precocious powers of intelligence and cunning, yet lacks the discipline, spiritual wisdom and maturity to make his intelligence and pluck more than a nuisance; Pigsy has immense physical strength accompanied by gargantuan appetites, both culinary and sexual, yet lacks the intelligence, self-control and either human or spiritual inslight to turn his lust for life towards a love and service of life; Sandy is practical, down to earth and even tempered, yet lacks the inspiration of either intelligence and imagination, carnal appetite or spiritual aspiration to make his life meaningful; Xuanzang the Tang Monk, has spirituality and humanity, yet they, like Dorothy are powerless and helpless in their brave new world, unable to cope with challenge unless aided by outside powers. The key point is that the four together, either as a group or as symbolic representatives of the internal "organs of human potential" of any human personality, may unite to constitute human wholeness and the capacity for transcendent growth and sustainability. We see other echoes of complementarity in other familiar works of our classical heritage: Don Quixote is a paragon of nobility and the spirituality of knightly aspiration, yet lacks any grasp of the real world or the perspective of reason that would make him more than a charicature of his aspirations; Sancho Panza, has the peasant's down-to-earth practicality and resourcefulness, yet lacks the aspirational nobility of soul and spirituality that would make his life meaningful. Together, however, they can aspire to whole human personality and potential. In the Three Musketeers saga of Dumas, Porthos, like Pigsy and Rabelais' Gargantuan * Pantagruel, is endowed with gigantic physical strength and appetite for life, Athos has a keen sense of honor and glory, Aramis has a religious and spiritual calling and the young D'Artagnan, like Dorothy has innate courage, uprightness, pluck and intelligence, but only in an immature and weak state that must benefit from greater experience, insight and growth to be capable of dealing with the challenges,complexity and evils of the real world. It is again, only working together that they may in full complementarity grow to human wholeness and the human potential for stregnth in life and capacity for positive transcendence. We could even find the same dynamics in the comic trio, the Three Stooges, with the physical excesses of Curly Joe, the practical worldliness of Larry and the overly sadistically over-repressive Moe, who yet still exhibits some fortitude and leadership potential. Though mere buffoons, they show the power to complement each other to grow towards greater wholeness of spirit, a potential fusion of a charicatured outline of Freud's id, ego and superego, that ultimately evokes our deeper affection. Similarly in the Chinese traditional spiritual cosmology, neither the female nor the male principle in isolation, the Yin and the Yang, can attain the wholeness and sustainability in life but by creative and fruitful interfusion with the other. In Volume I of this edition of the "Journey to the West" our story begins with an account of the origins and precocius life of that miraculous and beloved being, Sun Wukong, the Monkey-King. The Monkey-King is in effect half-human and half-simian, miraculously born from a stone nourished by the Five Elements, and like all homo sapiens chagrinned at the dilemma of his finding himself betwixt and between----too endowed with the intelligence and imaginative energies of the gods to be a mere animal, yet too flawed and immature in their development to take a fruitful place in the divine order of things. Sun Wukong thus quickly rises to become the King of the Monkeys by virtue of his innate abilities, yet leaves his kingdom behind to embark on a quest in search of enhanced powers and immortality. In doing so he studies with a Taoist Grand Master, or Patriarch who gives to him from his esoteric lore immense magical powers and abilities. Under the Taoist (Daoist) Sage he learns the Proteus-like shape-shifting power of "The 72 Transformations," the Secret of Immortality, invincible powers of combat through advanced Taoist Kung Fu and Martial Arts and the abiility of "Cloud-Hopping" which enables him in a single somersault to traverse one-hundred and eight thousand miles flying through the sky! He acquires a special weapon, an iron rod which is infinitely expandable and contractible, varying at his will from a chopstick carried behind his ear to an immense clubbing staff capable of subdoing giants and demons. He is the Great Sage's most adept student, finally attaining the status of Qitian Dasheng (齐天大圣)or "Great Sage Equal to Heaven." Yet for all these precocious powers, Sun Wukong remains an immature adolescent given to mischievous monkey-shines and without wisdom or enlightenment. Thus, the Taoist Patriarch, tired of his disorderly shenanigans, in the end banishes Wukong from the monestery telling he must seek his destiny elsewhere. Sun Wukong then journeys to the Celestial Court of the Emperor of Heaven. But to his immense irritation he is only appointed as a menial in the heirarchy of heaven. Thereupon ensues one of the most famous episodes of the novel "Making Havoc in Heaven" in which Sun Wukong rebels, steals the Divine Nectar and Peaches of Heaven and sets himself at war with all of the divine forces of the Celestial Order who attempt but fail to apprehend and control him. But much to the Emperor of Heaven's chagrin, they are unable to control the Monkey-King's unprecedented magical powers and he remains at mischief. Here the Monkey-King joins in the Archetype of the Rebel Against the Gods, and the Trickster, in common with others of the Western heritage such as Prometheus and Milton's Satan. Like Prometheus he has misappropriated divine powers and prerogatives, such as invincibility and immortality. Prometheus, hero of Aeschulus'and Shelley's dramas "Prometheus Bound" and "Prometheus Unbound" is also a prodigy of intelligence and creative ability, a Titan who had aided Zeus in his own celestial Civil-War against Chronos and the old celestial order to become the King of the Greek gods, then audaciously misappropriated the power of fire and conferred it as a benefactor on man, also having had the hubris, emulating the God of Genesis, to create man from clay and endow life upon him, for which transgresions he was condemned to have his liver torn out daily by an eagle on a rock in Hades. Milton's Satan also rebelled against the divine order, but in his case by refusing to serve man, God's beloved creation, and enviously attempting to supplant Him in heaven. Sun Wukong also demands that he should replace the Emperor of Heaven as ruler of the heavenly order, resolving to war against him until he resigned. Nonetheless, the Monkey-King has none of Satan's propensity for pure Evil, but is rather compelled by his innocent adolescent pride and exuberance, egotism and native mischievousness. His punishment thus, as a juvenile offender is commensurately less. Order is resatored when the Emperor of Heaven enlists an even higher authority and power in the Chinese pantheon, Buddha. Buddha intercedes in the celestial war by calling a parley with the Monkey-King, seeking to convince him or the error of his ways, proving to him the much higher merits of the Emperor to claim the Throne of Heaven. To resolve the impasse he proposes a wager to test Sun Wukong's powers. He extends his divine hand and bets the Monkey-King that with all his "Cloud-Hopping" magic he cannot even travel far enough to leave the palm of his hand, with the Throne of Heaven as the high stakes. Sun Wukong accepts the wager, confident he can travel to the ends of the Earth in a single somersault. He sets off flying through the sky until he comes to the end of the world where appear five pillars. To preserve the evidence of his feat he has the audacity to piss on the base of the central pillar and inscribe a graffiti: "The Great Sage Sun Wukong, Equal of Heaven, was here." Returning to Buddha he demands the throne. Buddha extends his hand and shows that the Monkey-King had never left its limits,showing how the graffiti was but inscribed on his middle finger and cursing the smell of the monkey-piss he had left between his fingers! Realizing his delusions of grandeur and his own smallness, Sun Wukong accepts defeat and departs. Later he is further punished for additional transgressions by having an iron band placed around his forehead and is sealed by Buddha beneath a great mountain for 500 years to contemplate his wrongdoing. It is at this point that Sun Wukong joins the Tang monk Xuanzang, as Guanyin, the "Buddhist Virgin Mary" in her mercy, arranges his release from confinement on condition that he do penance for his past errors by guiding and protecting Xuanzang on his mission to India to obtain the holy scriptures. Each of the Pilgrim brothers also is recruited to perform the pilgrimage and quest an Act of Penance through guiding and protecting the Holy Monk Xuanzang on his holy mission to India. Pigsy, or Zhu Bajie, was formally the Commander of the Heavenly Naval Forces, but was banished to mortal life for his transgression in attempting to seduce the Moon Goddess, Chang'e. A reliable fighter, he is characterised by his insatiable appetites for food and sex, and is constantly looking for a way out of his duties, which causes significant conflict with Sun Wukong. Sandy, or Sha Wujing, was formerly a Celestial Court retainer, but was banished to mortal life for breaking a priceless crystal goblet of the Queen Mother of the West. He is a quiet but generally dependable character, who serves as the "straight man" foil to the comic relief of Sun and Zhu. The White Horse was formerly a Prince, who was sentenced to death for setting fire to his father's great pearl, but saved by the mercy of Guanyin. The bulk of the novel is then the account of innumerable adventures of the pilgrim brothers, the Monkey-King, Pigsy, Sandy, Xuanzang and the White Horse on the high road to India. Each chapter or episode is generally a formulaic set-scene in which some shape-shifting demons, beasts or other opponents of the Pilgrims attempt to capture the Tang Monk. As devouring the Tang Monk can bring the demons immortality, they often seek to capture and eat him. His rescuer is generally the magically gifted Sun Wukong. The encounters are often grusome or action-packed with combat and Kung Fu, and many times humorous, as some demon-monster shape-shifts into the form of a beautiful seductress to entice the Tang Monk or Pigsy as part of their nefarious plot. It is generally the Monkey-King who sees through such disguises and adopts some hilarious counterstrategy. The episodes are always lively and entertaining, but as the novel progresses interest can flag as the formulaic situations repeat themselves. The repetition often comes from the original oral storytelling tradition of the saga, but also because Xuanzang must undergo the "81 Tribulations" which are requisite before one may attain Buddhahood. At the end of the saga after fourteen years the Pilgrims successfully return to the Tang Court in China and establish a monestery for translating and publishing the holy sutras. Xuanzang and Sun Wukong attain Buddhahood, and Sandy becomes an Arhat, while the White Horse is delivered from his sentence. Pigsy, Zhu Bajie, because even his good deeds have always been tainted by his ulterior motives of greed and sexual desire, fails to attain the high state of his brothers, but is made an altar cleaner, priviliged to eat the leftover offerings at the temple. The story of the Journey to the West is based on historical fact, albeit with considerable fantastic embellishment. In actual history the monk Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty (596-664 AD) did in fact journey to India to obtain sutras, the Buddhist holy scripture, to translate them into Chinese, publish and popularize them. The Chinese invention of printing was most probably an evolution from the previous Buddhist woodblock printing of India, associated with the spread of Buddhism in China, and the historical Xuanzang made a considerable contribution to the spread of literacy and printing in Chinese civilization. Like many other works such as the Faust tales and the Iliad and Odyssey, for centuries they were the subject of oral storytelers before being rendered in classical written form. It is thought that Wu Cheng'en the probable author of the classic novel in 1592, thus a contemporary of Shakespeare and Cervantes, adapted these rough oral tales passed on by professional storytellers into a consummately crafted novel. The star character, the Monkey-King, was based on the character Hanuman, the Monkey-King magician of the Indian classic, The Ramayana, of Valmiki, which probably circulated in the oral tales of itinerant storytellers into China, but which Wu Cheng'sn crafted into a magnificantly original creation. Although a Buddhist classic, the Journey to the West is largely free of religious didacticism and presents itself a a vivid and exciting narrative of adventure and fantasy. The Journey to the West influenced the composition of my own latest work Spiritus Mundi, the contemporary and futurist epic of the modern world in several ways. First, in Book II, Spiritus Mundi, The Romance which is more mythically oriented, The Monkey-King appears as a character in aid of the Quest of the social activist heroes to save the world from WWIII by acquisition of the Sylmaril Crystal. Sun Wukong thus joins Goethe and the African God-Hero Ogun as counselors and aiders of the Quest on the journey through the Center of The Earth and their visit to the Temple of the Mothers on the Island of Omphalos where they may access the Cosmic Wormhole through Einsteinian Space-Time to visit the Council of the Immortals at the Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Spiritus Mundi also shares the universal Archetype of the Quest with the Journey to the West, along with other works such as the Epic of Gilgmesh, The Divine Comedy of Dante, The Ramayana of Valmiki and the Aeneid of Vergil, as well as modern fantasy epics such as the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. It thus addresses the powerful forces of the universal Collective Unconscious transcending and uniting all human cultures and civilizations as delineated by the famous spiritual psychologist C.G.Jung and other literary and cultural critics such as Joseph Campbell in his work "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." In conclusion, I would highly recommend that you take a look at The Journey to the West by Wu Chengen, as it is a work absolutely central to Chinese culture and to that of Southeast Asia. No educated person can live in and undersand the modern world, especially with the rise of China and Asia, without having some basic familiarity with this foundational Classic of Chinese and Asian culture. I also invite you to explore its themes and characters shared in the modern contemporary and futurist epic Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature: For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit... Robert Sheppard Editor-in-Chief World Literature Forum Author, Spiritus Mundi Novel Author’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr... Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17... Spiritus Mundi on Amazon, Book I: http://www.amazon.com/Spiritus-Mundi-... Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

  5. 4 out of 5

    Timons Esaias

    Late in 2017 I became aware of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature, and that I had read only one of them. I set myself the task of reading the other three, and this volume brings me to the end of a journey I began in February of 2018 with Water Margin and then Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It has been a fascinating study in the nature of oral storytelling (these were all written to be performed, really) in China. All the way I was comparing and contrasting to the European trad Late in 2017 I became aware of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature, and that I had read only one of them. I set myself the task of reading the other three, and this volume brings me to the end of a journey I began in February of 2018 with Water Margin and then Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It has been a fascinating study in the nature of oral storytelling (these were all written to be performed, really) in China. All the way I was comparing and contrasting to the European traditions I already knew, and to the Mahabharata and the Amir Hamza of South Asia and Persia. The first two of the three were tediously repetitive, to be honest, though interesting. The nihilism which has been picked up and continued by modern manga traditions, and then by the Marvel Universe, is prominent in those. I had been told that Journey to the West would be the best of the three, and that turned out to be the case. Historically and philosophically it's [expletive suppressed], which always tends to undermine my respect for a work. In this case it purports to tell the story of Xuanzang's journey to India to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures which he brought back to China; a Buddhist mission. In this story he crosses a Fantasy landscape of more than 100,000 miles (four times the circumference of the Earth as it has been passed down to us) and collects Buddhist scriptures as part of a Three-Religion fusion mission. So, yeah, basically the opposite of the truth. And the structure is set up to be just as repetitive as the earlier books: the team approaches a very tall mountain that they can't go around; the mountain is the home of terrible demons; Tripitaka (Xuanzang) is gulled or kidnapped by the demon, and prepared to be eaten for lunch; and Pilgrim (who is clearly derived from Hanuman) saves the day. Eventually. He usually has to go to Heaven or the South Sea for reinforcements. Once or twice a river or ocean is substituted for the mountain, but it's still the same idea. The central theme is the threat of cannibalism, or at least of the eating of humans and other Buddhist creatures by demons. Somehow, though, these elements are varied just enough to maintain interest -- at least if one reads at no more than a chapter a day, which was my procedure. There's a bit of comedy, a good deal of action, and more details than the other Classics. It kept my interest. I was amused. Now the purpose of the book eludes me, and I intend to read some secondary literature to see what others make of it. The notes and Introduction indicate that this is carefully constructed symbolically, especially with reference to Chinese alchemical practices, and the various religious and philosophical schools. But on the surface it seems to be a satire of all the Three religions and their philosophical disciplines. Ah, well. If you're going to read only one of the Four Great Classic Novels, it should be the more modern (18th century) The Dream of the Red Chamber. But if you're going for two, this is the second.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary Soon Lee

    I have reached, with sadness, the end of my journey through the four-volume, four-hundred-year-old Chinese classic, "The Journey to the West." I plodded through the lengthy but valuable introduction by the translator, Anthony C. Yu, then set off through the hundred fantastical chapters of the story. It is not a journey for those who like their fiction in small doses. Nor does it fit the mold of most of the fantasy that I love. True, there are dragons and monsters and mythic battles, but of the I have reached, with sadness, the end of my journey through the four-volume, four-hundred-year-old Chinese classic, "The Journey to the West." I plodded through the lengthy but valuable introduction by the translator, Anthony C. Yu, then set off through the hundred fantastical chapters of the story. It is not a journey for those who like their fiction in small doses. Nor does it fit the mold of most of the fantasy that I love. True, there are dragons and monsters and mythic battles, but of the two main characters, one is an ugly, ultra-violent, supernatural monkey, and the other is a timorous, puritanical monk. Moreover, the narration is less immersed in the characters' viewpoints than I usually prefer, partly because it frequently breaks into poetry. Perhaps the biggest departure from typical fantasy tomes is that the book is largely episodic. It journeys westward without much of a dramatic arc. While individual episodes have their battles and resolutions, the characters and the situation change slowly, sometimes imperceptibly. Any or all of the above might have deterred me. Had I been in a more cantankerous mood, perhaps they would have done so. Yet they did not. By and large, I liked the digressions into poetry. I accepted the cowardice of one character, the violence of the other, the less-than-immersive narration, the episodic quality more common to television series than to novels. I liked the lightness of tone, the sense of fun. Most of all, I grew fond of the characters, as I think the author was fond of them. I wanted to spend time in their company, and am left now, at the end of the long journey, missing them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chloé

    !Attention, cette critique évoque l’œuvre entière, ce qui inclue donc les tomes 1, 2 et 3! J'avais déjà lu ce livre auparavant, mais j'ai découvert que la version que je possédais à l'époque était une traduction tronquée. N'ayant de toute façon que peu de souvenirs de cette histoire, j'ai donc décidé de la relire, choisissant cette fois une traduction plutôt acclamée, car complète et agrémentée de notes explicatives. Journey to the West raconte de façon romancée et fantastique le voyage historique !Attention, cette critique évoque l’œuvre entière, ce qui inclue donc les tomes 1, 2 et 3! J'avais déjà lu ce livre auparavant, mais j'ai découvert que la version que je possédais à l'époque était une traduction tronquée. N'ayant de toute façon que peu de souvenirs de cette histoire, j'ai donc décidé de la relire, choisissant cette fois une traduction plutôt acclamée, car complète et agrémentée de notes explicatives. Journey to the West raconte de façon romancée et fantastique le voyage historique du moine Xuanzang en Inde afin de récupérer les textes sacrés du bouddhisme. Surnommé Tripitaka dans le livre, ce moine effectue sa route en compagnie de trois monstres, devenus ses disciples suite à leur conversion à la religion par la Bodhisattva Guanyin. Le premier, appelé Sun Wukong, est un singe qui a développé des pouvoirs tellement incroyables qu'il est célèbre pour avoir causé de nombreux dégâts au Ciel. Le deuxième, appelé Zhu Wuneng, est un cochon très enclin à la gourmandise et la luxure. Le troisième, appelé Sha Wujing, est un démon des sables toujours prêt à aider ses frères au combat. On peut noter aussi la présence d'un dragon ayant pris l'apparence d'un cheval pour transporter Tripitaka. Le chemin vers les sutras étant long, le groupe subit donc de nombreuses attaques de monstres, chaque péripétie étant bien entendu une épreuve destinée à juger leur valeur. Journey to the West est une œuvre plutôt conséquente, mais qui demeure néanmoins captivante. En tant qu'Occidentale, le récit s'avère très dépaysant, présentant une autre culture ainsi qu'une autre époque. Pour cela, les notes ont été d'une très grande utilité, car le texte est truffé de références à la mythologie et au folklore chinois. De même, la narration est très souvent interrompue par des poèmes, ce qui donne un petit aspect chanson de geste au récit. Toutefois, ces vers nous sont souvent signalés comme étant écrits sur des airs classiques chinois. Des éléments qui confèrent une atmosphère très particulière et fascinante à ce livre. Toutefois, là où Journey to the West s'illustre, c'est dans son humour. Autant certaines aventures se classent dans un style épique, tombant parfois même dans le dramatique pour mieux accrocher l'attention du lecteur, autant la majorité des aventures donnent dans le comique, qu'il soit burlesque ou absurde. Il est très amusant de constater que certains passages ne détonneraient pas dans un épisode de Looney Tunes, alors que le texte date du XVIe siècle. Il est par ailleurs inutile de cacher que le groupe que l'on suit est très disparate, ce qui donne lieu à des petites querelles, mais également à des situations qui auraient pu être évitées si le dialogue sensé avait été choisi au lieu de l'impulsivité. Résultat, on se retrouve souvent à rire aux éclats au cours d'un chapitre. Ces deux points permettent grandement de parer le plus gros défaut du livre, à savoir la répétitivité. Journey to the West est composé de cent chapitres, et pour respecter un nombre parfait, le groupe doit subir quatre-vingt-une épreuves. De ce fait, il semblerait qu'il était difficile de redoubler d'originalité sur la nature des embûches. De nombreuses aventures ont donc un schéma classique : Tripitaka se fait enlever par des monstres, ses disciples parviennent à le sauver, mais si la difficulté est trop importante, alors Sun Wukong se rend auprès d'une divinité afin de lui demander son aide. Heureusement donc que le récit parvient à rester divertissant, car cette redondance peut en rebuter plus d'un. Finalement, Journey to the West est un monument de la littérature chinoise qui vaut le coup d'être lu. Malgré sa répétitivité, l’œuvre parvient à rester engageante jusqu'à la fin, et c'est un plaisir de s'immerger dans ce pan de culture. Concernant la traduction, je me suis tournée vers cette version anglaise d'Anthony C. Yu que je recommande sans hésiter. En revanche, pour toute personne désirant tenter l'expérience en français, je conseillerais la traduction d'André Lévy. Elle n'est disponible malheureusement qu'en Pléiade, mais après quelques recherches, il semblerait que ce soit la seule version française complète et fidèle au texte d'origine.

  8. 5 out of 5

    James Spencer

    And it was a "journey," the second longest I've taken but I am very glad to have read it. Despite a lot of repetition this epic of Chinese literature held my interest through all four volumes and I think I learned a lot. And it was a "journey," the second longest I've taken but I am very glad to have read it. Despite a lot of repetition this epic of Chinese literature held my interest through all four volumes and I think I learned a lot.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Indra

    Está chistoso que el 60% de las desgracias que enfrentan los personajes son culpa de descuidos y metidas de pata de seres divinos, y el Buda es un castor latoso. Entendí algo del mensaje metafórico del libro (seguramente entendería más si fuera budista o china, pero leí análisis y ensayos y me sirvieron) y aprendí mucho sobre la filosofía budista china. El personaje de Sun Wukong es muy muy bueno y me divirtió mucho. Me llamó mucho la atención que cada país distante al que llegan sigue las misma Está chistoso que el 60% de las desgracias que enfrentan los personajes son culpa de descuidos y metidas de pata de seres divinos, y el Buda es un castor latoso. Entendí algo del mensaje metafórico del libro (seguramente entendería más si fuera budista o china, pero leí análisis y ensayos y me sirvieron) y aprendí mucho sobre la filosofía budista china. El personaje de Sun Wukong es muy muy bueno y me divirtió mucho. Me llamó mucho la atención que cada país distante al que llegan sigue las mismas costumbres de China y hasta hablan la misma lengua. La naturaleza, los animales, también son ya conocidos, mientras que en textos de exploradores occidentales hablan más de criaturas fantásticas o desconocidas. En el libro también mencionan a cada rato honores y elogios a China como una nación superior. Está curioso, pero comprensible, conociendo la historia china. Hay muchas quejas de que es un libro repetitivo, pero esto pasa mucho menos en la segunda mitad (más o menos) e incluso cambia un poquito el estilo de las descripciones. Los encuentros también son diferentes y la Bodhisattva Guanyin no aparece tanto. También Sanzang deja de favorecer a Bajie y estoy segura que eso tiene que ver con el sentido metafórico de la historia. En realidad esta última cuarta parte del libro no me pareció tediosa. Sería interesante escribir sobre el papel de las mujeres en el libro, porque definitivamente no les va bien, por lo general. También me gusta mucho el peek que da la obra hacia la sociedad y mentalidad china, y la parte de la burocracia en las esferas divinas y demoníacas es graciosísima. Hay una parte que me gusta mucho porque describe a Sun Wukong intimidarse al ver una ciudad de demonios, pero se asusta precisamente porque está muy bien organizada y hay un sistema de mensajería eficiente ("deer carrying messages", etc.). La mejor noticia es que completé uno de los clásicos chinos. 1 down, 3 to go!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alanus

    I enjoyed the last leg of the journey as I did the first. Our four travellers encounter more demons who want to devour the Tang Priest or to force his hand in marriage. Monkey usually saves the day as he does for most of the book. Rather than than smashing his way through all his foes, I liked how he learned to ask for help when needed; certain demons escaped from the Moon or from the cages of their masters, so only the masters could subdue those demons. I found the vivid imagery of the poems co I enjoyed the last leg of the journey as I did the first. Our four travellers encounter more demons who want to devour the Tang Priest or to force his hand in marriage. Monkey usually saves the day as he does for most of the book. Rather than than smashing his way through all his foes, I liked how he learned to ask for help when needed; certain demons escaped from the Moon or from the cages of their masters, so only the masters could subdue those demons. I found the vivid imagery of the poems contained in volume four as consistent as the other three. When describing the hall of the Buddha in Mr. Kou's household, "the hall was filled with a brocade of flowers// all around was gold and many colours." The translator also did a great job keeping the journey exciting despite the repetitive plot structure. Nonetheless, nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment when you finally read to the part where they reach Western Heaven and receive the scriptures. The journey for Sanzang was fourteen years in the making, my journey to finish this only took three. The story from my childhood is now complete.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Weitzel

    A monkey spirit becomes a Taoist master of such caliber that he terrifies even the gods, forcing the Buddha put him in his place. To atone for his sins, he is recruited to protect a whiny priest sent to India by his resurrected king to fetch scriptures capable of freeing some abandoned ghosts in the underworld. The two then meet up with a pig monster whose appetite for food is matched only for his appetite for sex, and an intimidating river demon who ends up being the only sensible member of the A monkey spirit becomes a Taoist master of such caliber that he terrifies even the gods, forcing the Buddha put him in his place. To atone for his sins, he is recruited to protect a whiny priest sent to India by his resurrected king to fetch scriptures capable of freeing some abandoned ghosts in the underworld. The two then meet up with a pig monster whose appetite for food is matched only for his appetite for sex, and an intimidating river demon who ends up being the only sensible member of the group. What follows is 100 chapters of bizarre insanity, and it's awesome. 5 out of 5; would read again

  12. 4 out of 5

    Travis Wagner

    The entire story ebbs and flows with moments of high enjoyability, but sadly until a more nuanced and explained translation arises, it will be hard for non-Chinese speaking audiences to truly appreciate the scope of this work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marjo

    It does get repetitive as it goes on. I strongly suspect that one isn't meant to read this book in big bursts, or if one has the ability to recall what happened in previous chapters. Oh, well. At least I can say I read it. It does get repetitive as it goes on. I strongly suspect that one isn't meant to read this book in big bursts, or if one has the ability to recall what happened in previous chapters. Oh, well. At least I can say I read it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Ann

    Whew, I am done!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Remarkable: The episodes keep growing more perilous, the dangers more serious, and the solutions more astonishing as we go, peaking at the end. It's a slow and subtle build, but to me, entirely satisfying. The gender material remains problematic, palatable by virtue of its profound and surely self-conscious silliness. Everything else is just wonderful, especially once you've gotten into the rhythm and figured out how much you want to absorb at once. Remarkable: The episodes keep growing more perilous, the dangers more serious, and the solutions more astonishing as we go, peaking at the end. It's a slow and subtle build, but to me, entirely satisfying. The gender material remains problematic, palatable by virtue of its profound and surely self-conscious silliness. Everything else is just wonderful, especially once you've gotten into the rhythm and figured out how much you want to absorb at once.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sethborder

    Whew, this was a slog. A fantastic book, but this is a MASSIVE investment. 2000+ pages! It took me several months to read, but I learned a ton about Chinese literature, religion, and culture. I'm sure there was even more that I missed, but it's a very complex and interesting piece of literature. Whew, this was a slog. A fantastic book, but this is a MASSIVE investment. 2000+ pages! It took me several months to read, but I learned a ton about Chinese literature, religion, and culture. I'm sure there was even more that I missed, but it's a very complex and interesting piece of literature.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    Fascinating reflection of a underlying Chinese culture, this myth is a subtle hint on how we may expect their nation to behave under the authoritarian Communist government.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Á

    You'd think after the 500th time Monkey was persecuted by the Monk, framed by Piggy, and eventually defeats the demon disguised as who knows what the series would get old. Well, it does to some extent. It's a wonderful book, great narrative and humor, but all the demons/trials/tribulations blend into one huge monkey-mélange. This is at least the book with closure, which is a good thing after 100 chapters, but the obsessive-compulsive person in me must read all the chapters and when the white-lotu You'd think after the 500th time Monkey was persecuted by the Monk, framed by Piggy, and eventually defeats the demon disguised as who knows what the series would get old. Well, it does to some extent. It's a wonderful book, great narrative and humor, but all the demons/trials/tribulations blend into one huge monkey-mélange. This is at least the book with closure, which is a good thing after 100 chapters, but the obsessive-compulsive person in me must read all the chapters and when the white-lotus demon starts to blend into the black pearl dragon king then we may have hit demonic overload. That's a threshold that one should never reach frankly, seeing as you can generally never have too many demons (legion anyone?). It has all the elements from the other books, the tension, the battles, the compliant rod, the humor. But for me, reading volume four, after pressing through the first three, was not the most joyous of experiences. Maybe had I staggered them more, or taken a bit of a break between then all would have been well. Dropping one star is more a me issue than a story issue and it is well worth the time and effort to see that cheeky money get the scriptures to their rightful place.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    As the end of the epic journey draws near, the stakes get ever so slightly higher for Sanzang and the three monks. Granted, there's still a fair share of monster-of-the-week adventures, but the increased proximity to Vulture Peak and the Buddha, and the crossover into India, make for new situations and more unusual plots. The final sequence is alternately hilarious, thrilling and anticlimactic, but what wouldn't be a little bit of a letdown after a journey of 45oo pages? As the end of the epic journey draws near, the stakes get ever so slightly higher for Sanzang and the three monks. Granted, there's still a fair share of monster-of-the-week adventures, but the increased proximity to Vulture Peak and the Buddha, and the crossover into India, make for new situations and more unusual plots. The final sequence is alternately hilarious, thrilling and anticlimactic, but what wouldn't be a little bit of a letdown after a journey of 45oo pages?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I don't know why it took me so long to read The Journey to the West. I started the first volume a number of times but was never able to stick with it. This time, after getting over the initial hump presented by the first few chapters I was hooked. I now understand why Sun Wu-K'ung is such a popular figure. I don't know why it took me so long to read The Journey to the West. I started the first volume a number of times but was never able to stick with it. This time, after getting over the initial hump presented by the first few chapters I was hooked. I now understand why Sun Wu-K'ung is such a popular figure.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

    i own this book but the author lised here is wrong. The author is Anthony C. Yu. its either that or you are using the wrong cover as this is the cover for Anthony C. Yu's book. Same goes for volumes 2-4. The best translation until he released his revised works. i own this book but the author lised here is wrong. The author is Anthony C. Yu. its either that or you are using the wrong cover as this is the cover for Anthony C. Yu's book. Same goes for volumes 2-4. The best translation until he released his revised works.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Ismert

    The final volume of the 4-volume set. I love this shit - a 14 year journey, a magic monkey, a fight with monsters every chapter... Frodo, you were a wuss.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Britt

    One of the best and most engrossing series I've ever read. Imaginative and fantastic. One of the best and most engrossing series I've ever read. Imaginative and fantastic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    К

    YAY! Vol 4!!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Junius Fulcher

    See review of vol. 1

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack Ziegler

    Since I decided to be a chaperone for Jenny's trip to China in the spring, I figure I should learn some more about the country. This is a recommendation from http://wikitravel.org/en/China. Since I decided to be a chaperone for Jenny's trip to China in the spring, I figure I should learn some more about the country. This is a recommendation from http://wikitravel.org/en/China.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katsuro

  28. 5 out of 5

    Budi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Drew Keavey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Uladzislau

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