I am intrigued by the White Rabbit Gallery's selection for its September bookclub. They will be doing the Jin Ping Mei, a book I have never really known much about but which I remember selling as a rare book in the 90s. I think I am going to take the challenge and attempt to tackle this lesser-known Chinese classic. Here are some resources I have found online that may help the adventurous reader:
- Details of the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney's book club on September 14
- A great audio outline of the novel
- On The First Tuesday Book Club's discussion on erotica the Jin Ping Mei gets a guernsey
- There are not a great many English translations of the novel to choose from, though it's one of the earliest extant Chinese novels. The 2-volume version (it's a very long book) was translated by Clement Egerton.
- There's also a Library of Chinese Classics 5 volume version
- The novel is a spinoff from another classic Chinese novel Outlaws of the Marsh
- There have been comic-book versions made, despite it being "a notoriously pornographic vernacular Chinese novel believed to date from the late sixteenth century."
- David Tod Roy discovered the novel in Nanjing in 1950 and spent a lifetime translating it -
"there it was — an old Chinese edition of the whole thing — amid other morally and politically suspect items discarded by nervous owners after Mao Zedong’s takeover the previous year."
- More on David Tod Roy completing the fifth and final volume of the translation: what its like to finish a thorough translation of a Chinese classic.