Bonds of Matrimony/hsing-Shih Yin-YÜan Chuan, a Seventeenth-Century Chinese Novel

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This anonymous novel, Hsing-shih Yin-yüan chuan, falls between the Golden Lotus and Dream of the Red Chamber in terms of novelistic development and, like them, tells the story of individual and familial failings away from virtue, and considers the individual's moral responsibility for society. This translation is meant for people who cannot read the novel in Chinese, and will help people understand the genre conventions of Chinese fiction and their evolution. Novels from the 16th and 18th centuries have been translated and published, and this book fills the gap left for the 17th century.


“It is a great pleasure to see that eventually somebody has set out to tackle a task long overdue: to translate one of the grandest, yet most underrated traditional Chinese works of fiction into English. The novel. . . provides rare and fascinating insights into the rhythm of life in late Imperial China. . . . Nyren emerges as a pioneer in attempting a first unabridged translation into English. . . . Nyren deserves our praise and admiration for taking on a very daunting task. . . displays both courage and competence in facing the challenges that this novel poses to the translator. . . . Brimming with irony and satire, the grotesque spectacle depicted in the novel makes an engrossing read. A voyage through the world unfolding in its pages can give both students of literature and a wider public alike access to intriguing aspects of seventeenth-century Chinese imagination.” – Daria Berg in T’oung Pao

". . . ranks among the greatest works of classic Chinese fiction, but it has been sadly neglected -- and therefore totally unnoticed by Western readers -- dues to its consistent flouting of narrative rhetorical conventions, as well as its savage indictment of some of the most sacrosanct values of Confucian civilization. This is a book that runs the entire dark gamut from playful satire to shrieking grotesque, in the process serving up an indictment of traditional Confucian society that would have been unthinkable to any earlier writer, and is scarcely equalled even by some of the most vicious iconoclasm of the twentieth century. . . . Eve Nyren's masterful translation has accomplished the feat of capturing much of the subtle and not-so-subtle dimensions of the author's caustic wit. In this rendering, the reader can savor and begin to understand the darker, and far more interesting, side of the upbeat Confucian mentality." -- Andrew H. Plaks

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