The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume One: The Gathering / Edition 1

The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume One: The Gathering / Edition 1

by Princeton University Press, David Tod Roy
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Princeton University Press


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The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume One: The Gathering / Edition 1

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691016146
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 03/17/1997
Series: Princeton Library of Asian Translations Series
Edition description: Abridged
Pages: 714
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

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.

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; Yün-ko in His Anger Raises a Rumpus in the Teashop, pg. 82
  • CHAPTER 5. Yün-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 Hsüeh Proposes a Match with Meng Yü-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 Hsüeh-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-hsü 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-chüeh Steals a March in Anticipation of the Ceremony, pg. 316
  • CHAPTER 17. Censor Yü-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 Yü-lou High-mindedly Intercedes with Wu Yüeh-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

What People are Saying About This

Andrew Plaks

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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The Plum in the Golden Vase or, "Chin P'ing Mei": Volume One: The Gathering 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Todd Roy provides a formidable apparatus to the book: an introduction that speculates over the author's philosophy and extensive footnotes that explain the historical and literary references as well as names mentioned in the book. So when I got to the actual text, I was astonished by how much fun it is to read (caveat: I am only half way through so far). It is about the household, career and romantic adventures of a 12th Century merchant (the book was written in the late 16th Century--and the Roy makes clear in his introduction that the author is criticizing contemporary society, even while setting events several centuries earlier). There is so much that is wonderful here: details of daily life, courtship, bribery, prostitution, business, politics--it all feels wonderfully contemporary. And the women characters are, if anything, more conniving, ambitious and sexually avaricious than the men. It is sometimes described as "pornographic." That is not the case, although the sex can sometimes be rather explicit--it's normally presented with great humor--and one suspects the author of satire. Just as he makes fun of people's base motives, he also seems to call into question the reality of their etherial and romantic experiences. It would take far too long to describe the unwinding plot, which has the convolutions of an endless soap opera, but it is a delight to read and hard to put down. Bravo!