Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

Synopsis

Updated with a new foreword by Moss Roberts for this fifteenth anniversary edition, Three Kingdoms tells the story of the fateful last reign of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220), when the Chinese empire was divided into three warring kingdoms. Writing some twelve hundred years later, the Ming author Luo Guanzhong drew on histories, dramas, and poems portraying the crisis to fashion a sophisticated, compelling narrative that has become the Chinese national epic. This abridged edition captures the novel's intimate and unsparing view of how power is wielded, how diplomacy is conducted, and how wars are planned and fought. As important for Chinese culture as the Homeric epics have been for the West, this Ming dynasty masterpiece continues to be widely influential in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam and remains a great work of world literature.

Excerpt

This abridged translation of Three Kingdoms, based on the University of California Press—Foreign Languages Press edition (Berkeley, 1991, Beijing, 1994), has been designed to serve students in courses on Asian history and literature as well as comparative literature. Where necessary the excerpts have been connected by bridging material written by the translator to ease the reader’s transitions from one section of the novel to another and to preserve to the fullest extent possible the main lines of the narrative. Working closely with University of California Press editor Doug Arava, the translator has tried to strike an appropriate balance between the epic dimensions of the whole novel and the need of students and the reading public for a relatively convenient and manageable way to become acquainted with the work.

The extensive scholarly apparatus of the unabridged edition has been altered as follows: all footnotes to the text and to the Afterword have been removed, but the complete Afterword has been retained. Those who wish to know more of the novel’s historical and literary context, or who wish to pursue particular problems of character, incident, or style, may benefit from consulting the unabridged edition. For convenience of reference to the unabridged edition chapter numbers and tides have been retained even for shortened chapters.

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