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Chinese Literature
Xiyouji 西遊記 "The Journey to the West"


Written by Wu Cheng'en 吳承恩 (d. 1582), this very popular novel is based on the history of a Buddhist monk named Xuanzang 玄奘 traveling to India to bring Buddhist sutras back to China. But this simple history is ornamented with many popular stories and theatre plays like the rebellion of the monkey Sun Wukong 孫悟空, being subjugated by Buddha and forced to assist Xuanzang during his travel. The other compagnions of Xuanzang are the pig-human Zhu Bajie 豬八戒 and the monk (Sha) Wujing 沙悟淨和尚, each with his own character. All of them have been punished for their greater or lesser crimes, and only acting together, then can manage to make their way to India. Battles scenes and magic spells, desciptions of exotic landscapes make out the popular welcome of this novel, while quotations of Daoist literature and many poems, songs and speeches also make this novel a very pretentious lecture. The exact description of daily life and human and celestial order even can induce a social critical interpretation of this novel.
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July 18, 2010 © · Ulrich Theobald · Mail