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Outlaws of the Marsh (Vol. 1-4)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  864 ratings  ·  82 reviews
China's great classic novel Outlaws of the Marsh, written in the fourteenth century, is a fictional account of twelfth-century events during the Song Dynasty. One by one, over a hundred men and women are forced by the harsh feudal officialdom to take to the hills. They band together and defeat every attempt of the government troops to crush them. Within this framework we f ...more
Paperback, 4-Volume Boxed Set, 2149 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Foreign Languages Press (first published 1370)
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Beowulf by UnknownThe Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey ChaucerSir Gawain and the Green Knight by UnknownThe Divine Comedy by Dante AlighieriLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory
Best Medieval Literature
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,993)
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Jared Lee
Volume 1: pp. 1-538
Volume 2: pp. 539-1072
Volume 3: pp. 1073-1603
Volume 4: pp. 1604-2149

This book is a tremendous saga of outlaws that are loyal to the emperor and seek an amnesty. The book is considered a classic in Chinese literature. Written in the thirteenth century roughly, the story tells of a group of outlaws that despise corrupt officials and feel they have blinded the emperor to whom they are loyal. It would be too simple to compare this story with Robin Hood.

Set in the twelfth century
Oct 27, 2011 Alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia
There are Four Great Classical Chinese Novels? Why don't I know anything about anything?

Okay...yes, and they are: this one;
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms
- Monkey: The Journey to the West
and Dream of the Red Chamber

Obviously I'm going to have to read one per year starting next year. Awesome, man, awesome.

Also, I'm gonna want to return to Maija's shelves at some point to look more closely at her non-Western choices. She seems to have thought this out well.

Meghan says Shapiro is well-considered; D
Bryan Alexander
Outlaws of the Marsh, a/k/a The Water Margin and other titles, is an epic Chinese novel about rebels, resistance, war, and friendship. It concerns 108 people who, for various reasons, defy local authorities and join a bandit force hiding out on a marsh-surrounded mountain.

The first three of four volumes describe how and why these rebels come to Mount Lianshan. These books also detail how local, then regional, then imperial forces attack the outlaws, and how the outlaws cleverly defend themselves
Sehr schöne Ausgabe eines Meisterwerks der Weltliteratur

Dies war meine erste Begegnung mit den klassischen chinesischen Romanen. Ein Text, der so alt ist, und trotzdem derart lesbar, ist im europäischen Raum kaum zu finden - die Geschichten der einzelnen "Banditen" sind unterhaltsam, manchmal komisch, tragisch und spannend. Ein Kaleidoskop der damaligen chinesischen Kultur.

Man darf hier kein "modernes" Buch erwarten mit Charakterisierungen und durchgestylter Plotline - dies ist mehr eine episod
This has an amazing array of characters (no you can't keep track of them all) but it is a fun look at the warrior life in old China. Its really a 3.5

Basic plot is various top commanders and great fighters are tricked by people scheming to rise in the ranks of the emperor's army. These people eventually band together and through various journeys and wars attempt to show the emperor the corruption that has permeated his country.

The actual author or authors is unknown but it definitely has politica
Feb 09, 2014 Mizuki marked it as to-read
I had read two different versions of comic based on Outlaws of the Marsh, all I can say is that the stories of the Outlaws are filled with actions and excitement. It's an engaging read although the author seems to hate beautiful, slutty women a great deal and think all of them deserve to die.

So maybe one day I should read the original text...maybe one day...
Unlike any text I've read, except The Old Testament. It has the feel of ancient oral stories transcribed into a narrative written form. The story slowly unfolds, there are hundreds of characters and many of the main characters have two or three names. Somehow all characters are inter-twined and related through the telling of the tale. The grand theme is a slow rebellion by ordinary people in response and reaction to the increasingly self-important, over-wealthy, and isolated and dependent ruling ...more
It was a tough book to get through. I enjoyed the story, but was troubled by the cruelty displayed by the bandits of Liangshan Marsh. The cruelty wasn't the work of individuals overcome by passion, but that displayed by the leaders in their tactics to get people they wanted to join them.
Brian Lewis
I was disappointed with this series. After reading Three Kingdoms, I was excited to read, what some consider, the spiritual successor. However, whatever Three Kingdoms did right, I got the feeling that this series dropped the ball.

I never got the feeling that more than 4 or 5 of the characters actually had any depth to them. That is a problem when your story is suppose to be about every one of the 109 protagonists, not to mention the countless of antagonists. Furthermore, the author had a poor s
I read the translation by Shapiro, adapted to four volumes by The Foreign Language Press, Beijing. I was surprised by the number of simple errors in the text - hopefully there are later versions which have been cleaned up. The endnotes were helpful but could have been more instructive.

The first part of the story was interesting (staves splitting trees, people being mixed into dumplings, ghosts informing on their murderous relatives, etc.) I liked following the adventures of the early characters.
Abenteuer im alten China

Das erste, was ich bei dieser Rezension erwähnen möchte, ist, dass es sich bei diesem Werk nicht um eine Übersetzung handelt, sondern um eine recht freie, stark kürzende Nachdichtung. Geschätzt die Hälfte des Originalwerks fehlt, wie das bei Kuhn-Übertragungen üblich ist.

Die für das Verständnis des Romans wichtige Einleitung, in der Marschall Hong die gefangenen Dämonenprinzen freilässt, fehlt komplett. Die gesamte Shi-Jin-Episode wurde zu einem Zusammenfassungsdialog gek
Partially based on a historical person, the book relates the story of Song Jian and his loyal group of comrades, their origins, how they congregate together and form a bandit army which they use to attack evil doers and corrupt officials.

Even though there are many characters (108 main heroes + misc), most of them receive enough time so that they develop their own personalities and traits, some of them are expert swordsmen, others are bowmen, spearmen, magicians, tacticians, etc.

The translation
Jul 25, 2011 Anne is currently reading it
I'm determined to read this. I read Dream of the Red Chamber or whatever they're calling it these days in my twenties, so I want to get through my second Chinese classic in my forties. Time's up Jan 2012. I was glad to see I am not the only one taking months to get through it.

It is repetitive, charming, funny, outrageous, and not exactly dominated by individual narrative the way a western Epic would be.
One of the four classics of Chinese literature, with translation by Sidney Shapiro. I have doubts as to the accuracy of the translation, but the stories themselves are wonderful, almost like a chinese Robin Hood. One that wasn't afraid to blackmail innocent people every now and then, or whose Merry Men were a little more salt of the earth. Very good nonetheless.
Janith Pathirage
I haven't read many Chinese novels (this's the only one I guess) but Water Margin is one of the best / greatest novels I've ever read in my life. It will be in my top 10 any day and I've read 1000s of novels. Cant put my finger on another book which had so many memorable characters. Lots of greats worriers here. Ling Chung, the drunken monk, Wu sung, Iron ox etc.. Can't really pic a favorite , they are all great characters. And such a wonderfully written story !! I rate this book along with clas ...more
Sep 26, 2007 Jamie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: martial arts buffs
You must love to read and love to practice chinese martial arts to get into these books. They are brilliant and also hard to follow. But do give it a try if you have the time to read.
Chinese Robin Hood--also called "All Men Are Brothers" (Pearl S. Buck's translation), or The Water Margin, or Shui Hu Zhuan.

Most characters are based on Daoist/Buddhist gods.
Sean Simpson
made it through the first volume of this 1500 page traditional chinese novel. If you are interested in traditional chinese culture this could be good for you.
Jamie Maltman
One of my favorite stories I've ever read, easily the best of the 2.5 classics of Chinese Literature I've read. (Three Kingdoms is good, Dream of the Red Chamber dragged for me, and someday will happily tackle Journey to the West).

Outlaws has a huge cast of diverse and fantastic characters from the most honorable, dutiful and devout to the rash and terrifying, and the conniving and wicked. So many great stories weaving together, in a fascinating period of China. No wonder out has been adapted to
It has always bugged me to no end that the classics in Chinese lit never make the 'longest books' lists in the Western world (though I did come across a Wiki article that had Romance of the 3 Kingdoms on it)... not because they aren't long enough (this one at 2149 is like reading War and Peace, twice) but because no one over here reads them. They're good! Seriously - no one does drama (especially family drama) quite like Chinese lit.

With that said Outlaws of Marsh (aka: Water Margin) was totall
One of the 四大名著, set in the Song Dynasty just before 射雕英雄传.

* All Men Are Brothers by Pearl S. Buck (1933), ~700 pages (Library Main)
* Water Margin, Volume 1 by J.H. Jackson (1937), ~1000 pages (Library Chinatown)
* This one by Sidney Shapiro (1980), ~2200 pages (Library Chinatown)
* The Broken Seals: Part One of the Marshes of Mount Liang by Dent-Young (1994), ~2300 pages (Library Main + Chinatown)

Abridged version:
* Outlaws of the Marsh: An Abridged Version (400 - 500 pages, Kindle fo
Howard Mao
Shui Hu Zhuan, translated into English as "Water Margin", "Outlaws of the Marsh", or "All Men are Brothers" is one of the four classic Chinese novels and was written in the Ming dynasty. It tells the tale of 108 outlaws from the Northern Song dynasty who resist the imperial authorities and fight corrupt officials.

Be warned, this story is not for the faint of heart. If you thought that violent amoral anti-heroes in fiction was a recent development, "All Men are Brothers" will definitely prove you
One of the Four Great Classics of Chinese literature, written in the 14th Century, is the story of 108 men and women forced by injustice, corruption and intrigue to band together in the hills above the Liangshan Marsh. I won't attempt to summarize it or comment on its historical significance or validity (it is somewhat based on real events), but remark about this English translation as a literary work.

As the translator, Sidney Shapiro, described in his notes, several versions of the story appear
Jesse Field
Adam and I are reading a 2010 re-issue of the J.H. Jackson translation:

Marshall Hong Xin felt very curious at this, and had a desire to investigate, so he said to the superintendent, "Please open the door, and I will see what this king of demons is like."
"We dare not do that. Our former masters enjoined us not to open it and we cannot presume to disobey the order."
The Imperial Envoy laughed, and said, "Nonsense! You only falsely declare there is something strange, in order to deceive th
A staggering achievement, and a very odd book from cover to cover. It's greatly cynical, and one can perhaps read it on an infinite number of different levels. The book never makes its intent overt. It can be read as a grand adventure story and a tale of loyalty, as I believe many young readers enjoy the book (or retellings of some of the stories from within the book), but there is certainly an odd mix of sincerity and irony throughout. Facts contradict statements, ethics and loyalties are ever- ...more
I'll be frank. I've read this book before and liked it even less. Perhaps Pearl S. Buck's translation "All Men are Brothers" was just that ineffective. I felt the characters were almost psychopathic in their glee in killing certain people in most gruesome ways.

Sidney Shapiro shows his excellent talent in translation, but for this reader it was not enough to endear him to this work. Yes, some of the characters have become more interesting, but overall this reader feels that Outlaws of the Marsh i
this book is a work of fiction and was written by: Shi Nai An and Luo Guanzhong

when i was learning chinese, Shui Hu Chuan was one of the classics that i read/reviewed, it is a great tale of so many ppl. It is also popular by the title '108 fighters of Liang Shan' and have been made into chinese martial arts movies or series several times. I also remember that it has several versions and each version ends differently.

imagine it is a story of 108 ppl/great fighters (major and minor characters; 105
Robert Sheppard
Matt Weber
It seems sort of stupid to rate a book that's set people's imaginations on fire for conservatively, what, 20 times as long as I've been alive? But here we are.

Anyway, the thing moves a little slowly until about 75% of the way through, because we're introduced to literally every single one of the 108 heroes and how they got to Liangshan Marsh. There's not a whole lot of variation in the stories, although every so often you do get some cuckoldry, magic, and the like, or a crazed personality like
Die Rebellen vom Liangshanpo

Bereits beim ersten Blick auf diese außergewöhnliche Ausgabe fällt einem die überfließende Gestaltung auf. Die vier Bände zu je ca. 250 Seiten sind bereits vom Cover her sehr ansprechend, mit vielen Verzierungen und Illustrationen. Farblich passendes Vorsatzpapier, ein dutzend Vollfarbseiten mit einer Inhaltszusammenfassung der Kapitel und jeweils einer halbseitigen Illustration, dickes Papier, und schließlich noch viele einfarbige Illustrationen im Text machen diese
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Shi Nai'an (Chinese: 施耐庵; pinyin: Shī Nài'ān, ca. 1296–1372), was a Chinese writer from Suzhou. He was attributed as the first compiler of the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Not much biographical information is known about him. Traditionally it was believed that he was a teacher of Luo Guanzhong, who was attributed as a main compiler of Romance of Three
More about Shi Nai'an...
Au bord de l'eau (#1) The Outlaws of the Marsh, V1 The Broken Seals: Part One of the Marshes of Mount Liang Au bord de l'eau (#2) The Tiger Killers: Part Two of the Marshes of Mount Liang

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