CHIN PING MEI: The Adventurous History of Hsi Men and His Six Wives by
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CHIN PING MEI: The Adventurous History of Hsi Men and His Six Wives

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Chinese classic, outlawed as a forbidden book, but surviving 400 years and today, in its English translation, a fascinating thing to read. Hsi Men was an Oriental Casanova, and this record, not only of his six wives, but of his side excursions into amorous adventure, is not only hugely entertaining reading, but an amazingly vital picture of Chinese life in the 16th century. A bawdy tale, yes -- and assuredly not for the open shelves of most public libraries, or for your conservative customers. But it is singularly undated in its lusty vigor, first and foremost a good story, well told. The Golden Lotus, one of the wives, and a wanton of the first order, vies for honors with her spouse. There is humor -- romance -- adventure -- and Hsi Men comes to a well-deserved end, so even the moral issue is recognized,for those who demand it! Episodic in treatment, but with a thread of plot connecting the characters. The translation by Bernard Miall and Dr. Franz Kugh is an excellent one; the scholarly introduction by Arthur Waley gives the book an authentic place in world literature.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1940
Publisher: Putnam