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Old 2011-09-28, 11:49   Link #21
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I think the underlying goal of the the two novels (comparing with Iliad) determines their difference. RotK covers the political and military events that went for about 70-80 years. The nation went through dramatic changes from the fall of a dynasty, to the struggle between the warlords, to the consolidation of powers under the three kingdoms, the war between them, and then the eventual re-unification under a completely new dynasty. Iliad on the other hand, is one war (a very epic one, no doubt). One can debate whether such grand plan of RoTK is too ambitious for a novel. But I feel that something is lost when one compare the two without their different circumstances. Just my 2 cent.
I think RoTK would have worked better if it was split up into smaller parts, "episodes" if you will. A series of Novels, rather then one big one. You can subdivide RoTK into a number of such episodes, from just my own reading of RoTK there are a number of points you can start that subdividing.

A good comparison is Legend of the Galactic Heroes (the Anime, I don't know about the Novels). The similiarities between LoGH and RoTK are obvious, but LoGH is dividing into 4 "parts" which make the whole thing easier to digest, rather then being one large sprawling narrative.

That, or instead of depicting the whole thing, it may have been better to focus on certain key events. For instance, the Iliad does not focus on the entire Trojan War, it only focuses on the events leading up to the death of Hector. In that sense the Iliad is a much tighter narrative.

@Xagzan: The Iliad and RoTK have some similiarities, but also some big differences. I actually think comparing it to Thucydides "The Peloponnesian War" is more appropriate, though Thucyudides is not a Romance, or a novel, like RoTK is. It is, however, like the Iliad very "epic", big characters, big persolanities, big events. Unlike the Iliad, of course, it's not about conquering a single Town (by modern standards Troy would be a town!), but the struggle for an entire Empire. So it's a lot less intimate then the Iliad.

I also think the Iliad has more subtle and complex characterisation, and likewise it has more interesting themes.

I think anyone here who has an interest in "traditional" literature, who haven't already, should start reading the Greeks. Their influence on Western Culture is enormous, mostly because their work was top notch. It really doesn't come much better then Oedipus Rex, The Iliad, The Odyssey or Herodotus's "The Histories". There's something for everyone. English translations are very common (it's absurd how many translations of the Iliad there are, at least 20 or 30)
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Old 2011-09-28, 14:16   Link #22
Xagzan
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
@Xagzan: The Iliad and RoTK have some similiarities, but also some big differences. I actually think comparing it to Thucydides "The Peloponnesian War" is more appropriate, though Thucyudides is not a Romance, or a novel, like RoTK is. It is, however, like the Iliad very "epic", big characters, big persolanities, big events. Unlike the Iliad, of course, it's not about conquering a single Town (by modern standards Troy would be a town!), but the struggle for an entire Empire. So it's a lot less intimate then the Iliad.

I also think the Iliad has more subtle and complex characterisation, and likewise it has more interesting themes.

I think anyone here who has an interest in "traditional" literature, who haven't already, should start reading the Greeks. Their influence on Western Culture is enormous, mostly because their work was top notch. It really doesn't come much better then Oedipus Rex, The Iliad, The Odyssey or Herodotus's "The Histories". There's something for everyone. English translations are very common (it's absurd how many translations of the Iliad there are, at least 20 or 30)
Thucydides eh? It's been a while since I've read that as well. The only parts I can remember off the top of my head are Alcibiades and Nicias and the Sicilian expedition. But what similarities do you see between Thuc. and ROTK, since as you say it's not a romance or a novel?
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Old 2011-09-28, 14:52   Link #23
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Xagzan View Post
Thucydides eh? It's been a while since I've read that as well. The only parts I can remember off the top of my head are Alcibiades and Nicias and the Sicilian expedition. But what similarities do you see between Thuc. and ROTK, since as you say it's not a romance or a novel?
Mainly the scope. They're both about large armed conflicts. There's also a certain ideological contrast between the players involved.

That said, Thucydides is a lot more Real Politik then RoTK, which has a much more moralising strain to it. On the flip side, RoTK is filled with all kinds of schemes of dubious morality. But Thucydides is the more realitistic book.

In fact, it's kinda scary reading Thucydides, it makes you realise how little the world has changed.
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Old 2011-09-28, 15:41   Link #24
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
This could make a good H-manga/game if the main characters are casted well, but I think China would immediately invade Japan if such a manga is ever drawn and published.
There is a VN in China. Here's the link to the site.

Besides that, there's the eroge Piano~ Slaves of the Red Mansion~ which uses the basic title and characters for parts of the game.
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Old 2011-09-28, 17:51   Link #25
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I am not sure what you are trying to say here. Another title of the book was supposed to be 石頭記, or "the story of the stone". That's a possibility that's a more authentic title than the most popular one.
The one I read is entitled "紅樓夢". I remember my mother telling me about it being entitled "Story of the Stone" too... I am not sure which came first.

Quote:
There is a story that in the time of Republic of China, a tea house was open with the name of "瀟湘舘"(which is the name of the house that the female main character lives in), an old literature professor immediately went there to protest: how dare they defile the sacred name of the abode of the goddess. 焚琴煮鶴 is one phrase he used (it is kind of hard to translate it).
焚琴煮鶴 means to burn (焚琴) the qin (a musical instrument) as firewood and use it to cook a crane (煮鶴). He probably meant that such an establishment is an insult to the beauty of art and aesthetics since the qin is a symbol of art while the crane is a symbol of beauty.

If he really used the words "defile the sacred name of the abode of the goddess"... an ancestor of the modern 2ch otaku?

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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
There is a VN in China. Here's the link to the site.
Well according to this link, we already have girls calling the MC :

- Baoyu-san
- Baoyu-chan
- Nii-chan (Nii being the double meaning of "elder brother" and "second" at the same time)
- Nii-Gosujin-sama (meaning second young master)

Sounds like a pretty good start for an eroge. And there is a tropelink for it. Thank goodness they didn't bring in Qin Zhong or this game would be overrun with fujoshis commenting about his route like Cross Days.
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Last edited by SaintessHeart; 2011-09-28 at 18:01.
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Old 2011-09-28, 17:56   Link #26
Sumeragi
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Both titles are technically correct, since Cao Xueqin died before publishing it.
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Old 2011-09-28, 18:02   Link #27
MakubeX2
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
IThis could make a good H-manga/game if the main characters are casted well, but I think China would immediately invade Japan if such a manga is ever drawn and published.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
There is a VN in China. Here's the link to the site.

Besides that, there's the eroge Piano~ Slaves of the Red Mansion~ which uses the basic title and characters for parts of the game.
Before Japan and China had werid ideas of an adult game spin off of this classic, the Taiwanese had already done so in the late 90's.



With another one no less :-



Speaking of which, I don't suppose people want to discuss Jin Ping Mei more, given it's subject matter ?
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Old 2011-09-28, 18:08   Link #28
Sumeragi
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Originally Posted by MakubeX2 View Post
Before Japan and China had werid ideas of an adult game spin off of this classic, the Taiwanese had already done so in the late 90's.
NO! NOT THAT MONSTROSITY!

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Originally Posted by MakubeX2 View Post
Speaking of which, I don't suppose people want to discuss Jin Ping Mei more, given it's subject matter ?
I personally would say that Jin Ping Mei might be too red for most people here.
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Old 2011-09-28, 18:13   Link #29
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Good kids want to be Hector, bad kids want to be Agamemnon. Boys who think they're big and tough want to be Ajax. Smart kids want to grow up to be Odysseus. The grownups think the kids should act like Achilles. Nobody likes Paris, the sonofabitch.
You know, personally I think every kid just wanted to be Achilles. And they probably fought over it on the playground.

One boy we know for sure won his round: Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon. He never grew out of it.

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Originally Posted by Xagzan View Post
ROTK is similar in spirit to Greek epic? If so, then my confidence in reading it just increased. The closest I ever came to that story was the Ravages of Time series, and I couldn't follow it after about 20 chapters I'm hoping it was just a translation issue.
It's...not that similar. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms followed little of the epic conventions accepted by the West (which, honestly, is ridiculously ethnocentric, having all other epics defined after the Greeks' own). It acquired its final form in prose writing in the era of Ming printing culture, not transcribed oral poetry; it incorporates Chinese historical documents, which are written with "objective" sophistication rather different from the lineage-based oral cultures as can be noticed by, for example, the great recounting of the Achaean host in Book 2 or the clearly formerly separated work of Diomedes' Aristeia. Homeric Iliad was a unification of a number of older oral traditions; not so the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or at least not to the same extent.

But it is a myth, indisputably so (unless you're applying the term in an extremely limited, Greco-Roman centric usage: iambic pentameter, in media res, all that BS; IIRC I don't think the original Iliad was even iambic). Before it had been written down it had already permeated Chinese culture and produced oral traditions, dramas, proverbs, and so on. And as can be seen up to the present day it still has the effect of inspiring new generations of storytellers in one way or another. In a sense it is not as extensive as the Ancient Greeks who had a sophisticated cycle of mythologies written around the Iliad proper (which, as anyone who read it should notice, covered a few weeks of a ten years war, and not even the last days of it), but this is countered by the fact that the work itself is several times longer than the Iliad. There are even elements which contained magic and folklore in unusual degrees -- the death of Sun Ce for example. Moreover, certain events contain far more dramatic characterization than others; most notably the story of Dong Zhuo, Lu Bu, and Diao Chan (she being clearly a fiction invention most probably of Luo Guanzhong).

So how do you approach ROTK? Honestly, I don't know. I grew up with it; I don't have to approach it. IMO I was submerged in it deeper than how today's generation of Western students are submerged in the Classical tradition. Maybe a few generations earlier, when Liberal Arts = the Classics, but even then there was a severe distance -- and a major competing tradition, namely the Christian Bible.

But at the very least you should probably have a map when reading ROTK, just so you know where the bloody hell Jingzhou is and so on (answer: it's kind of right in the center of China, though earlier it was probably considered a "gateway to the South," hence why it was so bloodily contested). Oh, and try not to be bogged down too much with all the names. There are really a relatively small number of dominant characters guiding the story at any time. If you want to know which character had the most cultural impact (and hence worth remembering the name for), look up Dynasty Warriors or something (ignore the women though).
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Old 2011-09-28, 18:50   Link #30
Xagzan
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
You know, personally I think every kid just wanted to be Achilles. And they probably fought over it on the playground.

One boy we know for sure won his round: Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon. He never grew out of it.
No kidding, he even slept with the Iliad under his pillow (yes yes, it might just be a legend). He played as Achilles so well, he got his own Patroklos and died young without a homecoming.

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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
It's...not that similar. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms followed little of the epic conventions accepted by the West (which, honestly, is ridiculously ethnocentric, having all other epics defined after the Greeks' own). It acquired its final form in prose writing in the era of Ming printing culture, not transcribed oral poetry; it incorporates Chinese historical documents, which are written with "objective" sophistication rather different from the lineage-based oral cultures as can be noticed by, for example, the great recounting of the Achaean host in Book 2 or the clearly formerly separated work of Diomedes' Aristeia. Homeric Iliad was a unification of a number of older oral traditions; not so the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or at least not to the same extent.

But it is a myth, indisputably so (unless you're applying the term in an extremely limited, Greco-Roman centric usage: iambic pentameter, in media res, all that BS; IIRC I don't think the original Iliad was even iambic). Before it had been written down it had already permeated Chinese culture and produced oral traditions, dramas, proverbs, and so on. And as can be seen up to the present day it still has the effect of inspiring new generations of storytellers in one way or another. In a sense it is not as extensive as the Ancient Greeks who had a sophisticated cycle of mythologies written around the Iliad proper (which, as anyone who read it should notice, covered a few weeks of a ten years war, and not even the last days of it), but this is countered by the fact that the work itself is several times longer than the Iliad. There are even elements which contained magic and folklore in unusual degrees -- the death of Sun Ce for example. Moreover, certain events contain far more dramatic characterization than others; most notably the story of Dong Zhuo, Lu Bu, and Diao Chan (she being clearly a fiction invention most probably of Luo Guanzhong).
Yes, I understand what you're saying. Honestly I would've been surprised if ROTK and the Iliad shared similar conventions perfectly. Also, a big problem I had with Ravages of Time was keeping up with who was who, where their loyalties lay, and what their motivations were. So, who knows if reading the original tale itself would prove any easier. Although the length doesn't necessarily bother me.
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Old 2011-09-28, 19:58   Link #31
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
You know, personally I think every kid just wanted to be Achilles. And they probably fought over it on the playground.

One boy we know for sure won his round: Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon. He never grew out of it.
I don't know, I always wanted to be Diomedes (the Panicmaker!), Achilles always seemed like a bit of an Asshole to me. Who cares about Briseis?

Quote:
So how do you approach ROTK? Honestly, I don't know. I grew up with it; I don't have to approach it. IMO I was submerged in it deeper than how today's generation of Western students are submerged in the Classical tradition. Maybe a few generations earlier, when Liberal Arts = the Classics, but even then there was a severe distance -- and a major competing tradition, namely the Christian Bible.
It's a sad thing that people are forgetting the Classics. And the Iliad (and greek literature generally) totally kicks the ass of the Bible. The Bible is simplistic and trite compared to most Greek works. The Greeks also had a really fatalistic view of the world, which makes things very compelling. You can't beat Hubris and Fate as over-arching themes.

You don't get that feeling of futile inevitability from Chinese mythic works, because I suppose the Chinese didn't have the same kind of conception of "Fate", or Human beings occupying such a lowly and meaningless place in the Universe.

On the flip side, I do like the themes of "Righteousness" in RoTK.

Quote:
But at the very least you should probably have a map when reading ROTK, just so you know where the bloody hell Jingzhou is and so on (answer: it's kind of right in the center of China, though earlier it was probably considered a "gateway to the South," hence why it was so bloodily contested). Oh, and try not to be bogged down too much with all the names. There are really a relatively small number of dominant characters guiding the story at any time. If you want to know which character had the most cultural impact (and hence worth remembering the name for), look up Dynasty Warriors or something (ignore the women though).
Aye, though I'd love it if there was some kind of online dynamic map that showed what happens in every chapter. A sort of Chapter by Chapter guide.
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Old 2011-09-29, 05:15   Link #32
MakubeX2
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I personally would say that Jin Ping Mei might be too red for most people here.
But no worse than De Sade, no doubt.
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Old 2013-02-14, 08:56   Link #33
rantaid
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right now i am reading Library of Chinese Classic.
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Old 2013-02-14, 15:39   Link #34
LeoXiao
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I am shying away from the Four Classics because they would take me forever to read and understand -- The most I know of ROTK for instance is the oath made in the beginning and that Cao Cao gets his ass kicked at the Red Cliff. I am somewhat more familiar with JTTW and know some of its episodes. There was an abridged DoRC picture book that I had as a kid, and while I didn't care to read much of it, I kept thinking that Baoyu was a girl from the way they drew him.

As far as old texts go, for now I'm more interesting in taking philosophical works -- stuff like Dao de Jing, the Art of War, representative texts of the Confucian canon, or various poetry, and committing them to memory. I love the cleanliness of Classical Chinese; unfettered with redundant characters and auxiliary particles, it gets straight to the point.

Quote:
You don't get that feeling of futile inevitability from Chinese mythic works, because I suppose the Chinese didn't have the same kind of conception of "Fate", or Human beings occupying such a lowly and meaningless place in the Universe.
It depends on which writers you look at. Tao Yuanming for instance was a recluse poet who abandoned his official position to live in the country and be near nature in order to escape "the wretched cage" of society. Su Dongpo wrote a piece in which he and his colleagues pondered the vanity of human existence by the site of the Red Cliff battle, and by Zhuang Zi is a text that portrays the totality of death as described by a skull.

PS: I picked up a copy of the first 1/6th of The Tale of Genji awhile back and read some of it. I intend to finish it as some point.
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Old 2013-02-14, 15:57   Link #35
ArchmageXin
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A shame. I first read Roberts' translation when I was 16 and I was all confused at first. But I took my time to digest everything, referring to the notes Roberts painstakingly jotted for the reader and by Chapter 10, I was hooked.

In today's context, I would put ROTK as a Seinen for matured readers. Water Margin as a Shounen for Teenagers. Red Chamber Shojo Romance and finally Journey To The West as Kodomomuke.

Then there's the fifth lesser known classic Jin Ping Mei which I will dump under Ero

So here, you have your pick of Chinese Classics in case ROTK isn't you cup of tea.

It is a old chinese quote " Don't let a old man read Romance of three kingdoms, and don't let a young man read Water Margin"

So, poor target audience?


Also, for people who have trouble reading RoTK due to its length, try reading this manga

http://mangafox.me/manga/sangokushi/

I have friends from China who read this and admit it is very close to the original. While my American friends (Non Chinese) keep thinking Cao Cao is some kind of super villain a la medieval version of Cobra Commander-Somehow magically gather millions of troops as if he printed them like Dollars to the Federal Reserve...while Lu Bei and co were the classic Dungeon and Dragon RPG character.
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:00   Link #36
Xellos-_^
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you can't go wrong with Gu Lung's (古龍) novels. Sex, Alcohol and fights.

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Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
It is a old chinese quote " Don't let a old man read Romance of three kingdoms, and don't let a young man read Water Margin"

So, poor target audience?
actually it is don't let children read "Journey to the West"
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:10   Link #37
ArchmageXin
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you can't go wrong with Gu Lung's (古龍) novels. Sex, Alcohol and fights.


actually it is don't let children read "Journey to the West"
少不讀水滸, 老不讀三國

The former depicts the lives of outlaws and their defiance of the social system and may have a negative influence on adolescent boys, as well as the novel's depiction of gruesome violence. The latter presents every manner of stratagem and fraud and may tempt older readers to engage in such thinking.-Power of Wiki~
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:11   Link #38
Tom Bombadil
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you can't go wrong with Gu Lung's (古龍) novels. Sex, Alcohol and fights.


actually it is don't let children read "Journey to the West"
That's strange because I have seen it associated with 聊斋(don't know what's the official translation name, but it is a collection of supernatural or ghost short stories), but I have never seen it with Journey to the west. In my opinion, Journey to the west appeals most to the children.
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:15   Link #39
ArchmageXin
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That's strange because I have seen it associated with 聊斋(don't know what's the official translation name, but it is a collection of supernatural or ghost short stories), but I have never seen it with Journey to the west. In my opinion, Journey to the west appeals most to the children.
See my reply above ^
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:18   Link #40
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少不讀水滸, 老不讀三國

The former depicts the lives of outlaws and their defiance of the social system and may have a negative influence on adolescent boys, as well as the novel's depiction of gruesome violence. The latter presents every manner of stratagem and fraud and may tempt older readers to engage in such thinking.-Power of Wiki~
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
That's strange because I have seen it associated with 聊斋(don't know what's the official translation name, but it is a collection of supernatural or ghost short stories), but I have never seen it with Journey to the west. In my opinion, Journey to the west appeals most to the children.
hmm, well my mom always use JttW because it teaches kids to be naughty.
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