China has been a wellspring of storytelling for over 2,000 years. Sadly, this fantastic literature is little known in the west outside the halls of academia, though a handful of recent 20th century authors have attained a respectable following. The stories in this volume date from the sixth century A.D. to the early part of the 20th century, and will give the listener a good feel for the subject. Astonishingly, the Chinese enjoyed from the earliest times many of the genres we take for granted today, from romance and love to adventure and satire.
There are seven stories in Volume 1.
In "The White Monkey," by Anonymous, a general's honor and self respect are on the line when his wife is kidnapped.
"The Jade Goddess," retold by Lin Yu Tang, is like a fine piece of exquisite porcelain. This wonderful story from the 6th century is a thing of delicate beauty. Will an artist put aside his creative gifts for the sake of love?
"The Canary Murders," by Feng Meng-lung, is a twelfth century forerunner ofthe detective story which attempts to sort out a string of mysterious deaths.
"The Book Worm," by P'u Sung-ling is a humorous satire about a bibliophile who suddenly finds love.
In "K'ung I-Chi," by Lu Hsun, an old-fashioned scholar loses his way in life.
In "Mr. Pan In Distress," by Yeh Shao-Chun, war threatens the settled life of a provincial educator.
"Intoxicating Spring Nights," by Yu Ta-fu, is a look at the effects of a newly industrialized society.
Fine Selections, Great Reading
It's not fair to call this a simple reading. It is more an acting without a stage. I read most of these novels in Chinese, but I definitely get a much stronger impression about these works in English from their voices -- calm, happy, sad, passionate or angery. The translation gets the spirit accurately and the actors have done a superb job delivering it.