Books free shipping worldwide online Romance of the Three Kingdoms Chinese Four Classic novels
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Author Luo Guanzhong
Press The yanbian education press
Publication Date May 2009
Page material gelatine plate paper
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is traditionally attributed to Luo Guanzhong, who lived sometime between 1315 and 1400 (late Yuan to early Ming period). Some scholars argue for an origin from around the second half of the fifteenth century (mid-Ming) based on characteristics of the text. This theory is extensively developed in Andrew Plaks' Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel. It was written in partly vernacular and partly Classical Chinese and was considered the standard text for 300 years. The author made use of available historical records, including the Records of the Three Kingdoms compiled by Chen Shou, which covered events from the Yellow Turban Rebellion in 184 up to the unification of the three kingdoms under the Jin Dynasty in AD 280. The novel also includes material from Tang Dynasty poetic works, Yuan Dynasty operas and his own personal interpretation of elements such as virtue and legitimacy. The author combined this historical knowledge with a gift for storytelling to create a rich tapestry of personalities, and initially published it in 24 volumes. It was copied by hand until first printed in 1522 as Sanguozhi tongsu yanyi In the 1660s, during Kangxi's reign in the Qing Dynasty, Mao Lun and his son Mao Zonggang significantly edited the text, fitting it into 120 chapters, and abbreviating the title to Sanguozhi yanyi. The text was reduced from 900, 000 to 750, 000 characters; significant editing was done for narrative flow; use of third party poems was reduced and shifted from conventional verse to finer pieces; and most passages praising Cao Cao's advisers and commanders were removed. Scholars have long debated whether Mao's viewpoint was anti-Qing (identifying Southern Ming remnants with Shu-Han) or pro-Qing. The previous version was almost completely supplanted by Mao's edition, which is considered to be the superior literary work.
This novel reflects the Confucian values that were prominent at the time it was written. According to Confucian moral standards, loyalty to one's family, friends, and superiors are important measures for distinguishing good and bad people. In the novel, characters who were not loyal to the collapsing Han Dynasty are portrayed as bad people; on the contrary, modern mainstream ideology in Communist China would say that the deeply suffering masses were trying to overthrow the ruling feudal lords.
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