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Chinese Literature
Shuihuzhuan 水滸傳 "The Water Margin"


Attributed to Shi Naian 施耐庵 or Luo Guanzhong 羅貫中, this novel depicts the joining of heroes to a bandit group in the Liangshan swamps 梁山泊. The earliest editions date from the early 16th century, and there is evidence of the historicity of the main heros during the Song period 宋. Song Jiang 宋江, Wu Song 武松 and their followers were forced by bad officials, defamation and their own violent temper to go into the underground. Everyone of them has his story of own, and this shows that the novel is composed of many small parts and traditions, that are even themes for theatre plays. The bandit group promises to help Song emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 to fight against the intruding Liao 遼 armies and therefore is given grace inspite of their crimes. Most popular editions do not describe the final battles against the Liao empire in the north. The political content of the novel made it the object of occasional banishment during the Qing Dynasty 清 for glorifying bandits, and of an example of a peasant uprising under a revolutionary leadership during the Maoist era. There exist a few sequels and continuations of this novel, that has been very popular for describing the brotherhood between honest man and thus also is given the title "All men are brothers".
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Chinese literature according to the four-category system

July 18, 2010 © · Ulrich Theobald · Mail