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FREE EPUB ¸ Jin Ping Mei á The fullest translation of Jin Ping Mei available in English This edition was derived from the Egerton translation, minus the Latin, with a few euphemisms thrown in, but is considerably complete than the Olympia Press version most Westerners are familiar with Given the fine academic tradition of disassociating one s self from erotica in any form, Western scholars will often compare this book with Don Quixote and other non English masterpieces of a certain age To which we at Silk Pagoda reply considering that Jin Ping Mei comes to us as part of a literary cycle Outlaws of the Marsh and is primarily a fin de siecle romance with adultery as key theme, the book it best compares to is of course Mort d Arthur, and Jin Ping Mei s author should be celebrated for, unlike Mallory, experiencing life outside prison walls It took me over three months to finish reading this 1,332 page Chinese classic novel There are apparently several popular versions that are based on abridged imprints published under the Chongzhen reign 1627 1644 The version I read is one based on the 1617 unabridged imprint published during the Wanli reign 1573 1620 This version has a preface written by , who claimed to be a friend of the author s, and who stated therein the author s motive for writing the novel He also confirmed It took me over three months to finish reading this 1,332 page Chinese classic novel There are apparently several popular versions that are based on abridged imprints published under the Chongzhen reign 1627 1644 The version I read is one based on the 1617 unabridged imprint published during the Wanli reign 1573 1620 This version has a preface written by , who claimed to be a friend of the author s, and who stated therein the author s motive for writing the novel He also confirmed that the author was from the Lanling County of Shandong Province, which explains why the novel was written in the Lanling vernacular The direct translation of the author s pen name is The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling The story is a spin off of one of the sub stories in Water Margin one of the four great Chinese classic novels about Pan Jinlian who murders her husband when her adultery with wealthy merchant Ximen Qing is discovered, and who is subsequently killed by her husband s brother, the tiger slayer Wu Song Outside of this particular episode, Jin Ping Mei has an entirely different plot and cast of characters It is about the libertine life of a middle class merchant Ximen Qing and his concubine Pan Jinlian, and how their vices lead to self destruction.As for the title name, each character represents the given name of one of the three female protagonists Jin is Pan Jinlian a concubine of Ximen Qing s Ping is Li Ping er another of his concubines Mei is Pang Chunmei a housemaid who rises in status On a deeper level, the character Jin is a symbol for money, Ping is a symbol for alcohol, and Mei symbolizes sex.The major difficulty in reading this classic is the vernacular It takes a little getting used to The story is set in Northern Song dynasty 960 1127 , but the contents reflect the decadent and corrupt gentry lifestyle of the Ming Dynasty.The novel s greatest strength lies in the detailed description of day to day living of people in the middle class as well as those in lower classes, from food, to clothes, to etiquette, to traditional customs It is true there are also graphic descriptions of sex, which was the reason why the novel was officially banned most of the time It is also true that the novel is muchthan about sex The whole novel is premised on a karma theme that retribution will be exacted on those who embrace lust, greed and doing harm to others.In my view, this novel should be categorized as realism fiction A society that tries to ban such a novel is a hypocritical society.I m giving this classic 3.5 stars, rounded up wikipedia advanced As someone who has read fewer than 20 works from the region, I am going to take the liberty of saying that Chin P ing Mei provides a good introduction to the literature of the Far East Chin P ing Mei written in China in the 16th Century reminds me of the Dream of the Red Chamber written in China in the 18th Century and The Tale of Genji written in Japan in the 12th Century.In all three novels most of the action takes place in a noble household The dominant struggle is amongst the various As someone who has read fewer than 20 works from the region, I am going to take the liberty of saying that Chin P ing Mei provides a good introduction to the literature of the Far East Chin P ing Mei written in China in the 16th Century reminds me of the Dream of the Red Chamber written in China in the 18th Century and The Tale of Genji written in Japan in the 12th Century.In all three novels most of the action takes place in a noble household The dominant struggle is amongst the various wives and concubines of the family head who fight to establish a place in the domestic pecking order As in any war, anything is game Psychological cruelty is the dominant weapon but physical violence, poisons and other tools are often resorted to Needless to say under these conditions, the innocent are crushed and the evil triumph The atmosphere is always claustrophobic Despite a general drift towards disaster, there are many light and comic moments.What is different about Chin P ing Mei is the total absence of human decency in any of the main protagonists who are cruel, capricious and irresponsible Unlike those in The Dream of the Red Chamber and the Tale of Genji, the principal characters in Chin P ing Mei have no interest in poetry or the arts Their sole interest outside of bullying those close to them is having sex as frequently and with as many partners as possible Thus at the end of the novel when they have all come to bad ends, one feels relieved that divine retribution has finally been meted out In contrast, at the end of the Dream of the Red Chamber and the Tale of Genji, one experiences melancholy for the suffering that the characters have had to endure.All three novels paint a similar view of the political structure of the society The Emperor through his immediate entourage is an absolute tyrant The only skill that counts is in currying favour with those in higher positions In addition to flattery and obsequiousness, paying large bribes is also necessary to obtain what one wants.I think that some research should be done before selecting a translation I gather in some translations the mind numbing sequence of sexual encounters have an erotic quality The Kuhn Miall translation that I read describes the novel as the Chinese Decameron and the work indeed reads like a collection of dirty stories I consider the Kuhn Miall approach to highly appropriate Afterall, what else should a translator do with a work in which the hero dies from an overdose of aphrodisiac pills