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The Journey to the West, Volume 1 (The Journey to the West #1)

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  632 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
First published in 1952, The Journey to the West, volume I, comprises the first twenty-five chapters of Anthony C. Yu's four-volume translation of Hsi-yu Chi, one of the most beloved classics of Chinese literature. The fantastic tale recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), one of China's most illustrious religious heroes, who journeyed to In ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 15th 1980 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1592)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,320)
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Laszlo Hopp
Sep 20, 2013 Laszlo Hopp rated it really liked it
I read the four-volume revised Kindle edition of this book, translated by Anthony C. Yu. The story is the fictive rendition of a journey made by a 7th century Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, during the Tang Dynasty. He undertook his famous, nearly two decade-long pilgrimage in order to study Buddhism and acquire original Sanskrit texts of the religion from India. When he returned to China, he translated many of the original texts to Chinese, thus leaving a decisive legacy on Chinese Buddhism. Some of t ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
I really enjoy, as most do, Part One, the origin of Sun Wukong and his hell-raising days before he is finally subdued by Buddha. After that, I am often annoyed, as some are, by how weepy yet obstinate Xuanzang is (especially because he is supposed to be a highly cultivated monk), how underdeveloped the characters Sha Wujing and Yulong Santaiz are, how repetitive the 81 ordeals can be, and the author's repeated use of deus ex machina. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating and often hilarious adventur ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Melanie rated it it was ok
This has to be one of the most boring books I have ever read. I mean, the beginning of the book, back when Sun Wukong was free to do whatever he pleased was pretty acceptable. But in the moment he is given the task of babysitting Sanzang is where the book starts to get irritating. I understand that the book is supposed to be epic and full of metaphors, but imagine the case when someone asks Wukong something and instead of reading the sentence "and Wukong explained everything that happened to him ...more
Junius Fulcher
Jul 04, 2008 Junius Fulcher rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
By far, the most exciting translation of the classic tale, Journey to the West that I have read. The story unfolds in a beautiful, fluid manner through Mr. Yu's high linguistic skills. I've re-read this four volume set several times over as it speaks to me (and is crafted) on many levels.

The story is loosely based on the fourteen year pilgrimage of Ven. Hsaun T'sang, a Buddhist monastic/scripture pilgrim who traversed the Silk road from the Tang court in Chang-an, through the Kyber Pass into In
Sep 30, 2010 Tom rated it really liked it
An eye-opening, fascinating and often funny story that displays the culture of the time and teaches a little about Buddhism along the way. However, towards the end of the first volume the travels begin to become quite episodic.

The episodic nature of the chapters is not a great problem, but the fact that more often than not the author resorts to the same deus ex machina way of sorting out the pilgrims' problems could quickly become tiresome in volume 2.

Despite that, this gets 4 stars because I'm
Apr 30, 2015 Ken rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 09, 2014 Diego rated it liked it
Disclaimer : This review is only about the first 10 chapters (which is roughly the length of a normal book), I did not go any further than that.

Since I first heard of what this book influenced, I've always wanted to read it. It took me a couple of years to finally get into it, but I went in ready for the long journey.

Now, I think I can understand why this book is so popular, the stuff that happens in it is just incredible and fantastic. Immortal beings, legendary weapons, trips to beneath the se
May 23, 2014 Liralen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm actually reading the one with the red cover, translated by Anthony C. Yu, and the translation is amazing. I really love how he actually does his best to translate the epic poetry into something that rhymes and has a tempo to it that is like the traditional verse structure.

The annotations are excellent.

Of course, the story itself it is amazingly fun. Most of this book is about the Monkey King, his crazy adventure that trapped him for hundreds of years, and then the amazing story of how Tripit
Jul 29, 2014 Doc rated it it was amazing
I had been told that there aren't many ancient Chinese novels, as if the people of China have always been just so darn down-to-earth that they rarely told stories. The Taoist Myths of Chuang-Tzu were the closest that I had read, and they are so ordered and Confucian at times that they feel more like parables than stories. Journey to the West feels more like a story. It is probably one of the longest parables ever written, with some of the most detailed symbolism that I have ever seen.

Without hav
Nov 05, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Well, this is just one of four parts to this rather enormous Chinese work that I've been meaning to read for a long time now. The Journey to the West, at least this portion, is most notably about the origins of Sun Wukong, the mischievous monkey king of folklore. For the most part, even just this installation of the epic feels like it is split into two distinct subcategories, one being far supreme to the other.

The first thing I noticed was a return to that beautiful, distinct style of prose tha
Apr 25, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hour-before-bed, sff
The advent of the year of the Monkey gave me as good an occasion as any to try and read this, and I'm so glad I did. I'd been familiar with the characters from a picture-book series I'd encountered in second grade, but it was Max Gladstone's blog post a couple of years back that put it back on my radar.

Even across just Part I here, I cannot overemphasize how cheerfully bonkers this story is. Take the toilet humor, which a) is utterly brazen, b) comes out of nowhere more often than not, narrativ
Jul 17, 2015 J.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Really, surprisingly good. The humor holds up really well even after centuries-- which reminded me of Moliere's The Miser, and says something about the strength of the original translation. In pairing the story with poetry and with religious / mythological elements, it seemed like The Iliad: just as graphically violent, but much funnier.

This is a classic, deservedly, and should be read more widely in the west. If you're going to tour world literature, this would be an excellent first stop. Howev
Robert Sheppard

"The Journey to the West" (西遊記, Xi You Ji) is perhaps the most beloved book in China. It is once a great action, travel and adventure story, a mythic and phantasmagorical Odyssey and Quest, an epic of Buddhist pilgrimage and devotion, a comic classic, a tale of brother
"Małpi bunt" to pierwsza z dwóch części skrótu "Wędrówki na Zachód", klasycznej chińskiej powieści drogi. Należy ją oceniać dwojako - i jako skrót, i ze względu na przedstawioną fabułę. W dużej mierze brakuje poetyckości oryginału (tłumacz raczej nie przekładał wierszy lub robił z nich prozę) a i czasem skróty są dziwnie robione. Np. mowa o paskudnie wyglądającym potworze, którego wygląd nie jest opisany, a potem nagle jest mowa o wieprzu.

W książce przeplatają się 3 filozofie: taoistyczna, konf
Jan 08, 2015 Jesse rated it really liked it
If you're new to the story, I'd recommend you read Arthur Waley's abridged version "Monkey" instead. It's a lot shorter and just deals with the meat of the story. But if you already know the basics and you're ready to plunge into the full tale, then this version is very well done.

Although don't feel obligated to read the Introduction. It's 62 pages long and will probably only interest you if you are looking for a rather dry, scholarly analysis of the text.
Apr 13, 2016 Timothy rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable book, but it's important to understand that it reads like a classic. It kind of calls 'Don Quixote,' to my mind. It's a similar type of satire with a similar 'questing,' or 'picaresque,' story. We start with the Monkey King and his roguish behavior, and then the story shifts to follow the monk Tripitaka and his disciples on his journey west to retrieve Buddhist scriptures. It took me a few weeks to finish this one, and for the time being I'm leaving the other volumes alone. ...more
Marian Allen
Mar 18, 2010 Marian Allen rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I'm reading this book for Monkey, not for any other reason, and the part I liked best was the part before he got "redeemed". Not that he's exactly saintly afterwards.... The Monkey King is a classic trickster, who steals whatever he can get away with and faces any challenge with relish. You always want to have him on your side.

I discovered the Handsome Monkey King through Laurence Yep's Dragon War novels, then through my youngest daughter's readings in Chinese literature. Now I'
Anne Freya
Mar 23, 2016 Anne Freya marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Sun Wukong, sedari kecil sudah pernah dengar namanya saat tayang di TV, tapi lucunya hingga saat ini aku belum pernah nonton dan tentu saja ga tau isi ceritanya gimana, huahaha.
Jadinya sekarang baca bukunya aja deh, sengaja pilih yg translator-nya Anthony C. Yu karena katanya terjemahannya dia bagus.
Jessica Zu
Oct 28, 2014 Jessica Zu rated it really liked it
the intro is an awesome analysis of xiaoshuo--small talk as a genre, it's intertextuality with buddhist, daoist, confucian canons, its allegorical nature, its mastery of poem and prose integrated for an epic narrative, and its impact on Chinese religiosity, literacy, and sensibility.
Kloud Gothi
May 25, 2014 Kloud Gothi rated it liked it
Grrr this book really frustrated me. Loved the characters, themes, and the story itself, but I found it so tedious and long-winded to read. I am ashamed to say that I skipped a whole section of the book just to get to the end, and I hate not finishing a book; that's how tedious it was.
Michiel Roelants
Mar 03, 2014 Michiel Roelants rated it really liked it
Introduction to a great story that introduces us to the Monkey king. The story is well-told, contains a lot of humor and instills some great, Chinese philosophy like Daoïsm.
Journey to the West is one of my personal favorite Chinese tales. I used to watch the many many tv adaptations of the Monk and his 3 disciples when I was younger. I finally had the time to sit down a read it recently and it has been exactly what I expected it to be. It is told in different "acts" and although there is a cohesive timeline, each event that occurs to the traveling group can stand on its own. There really isn't much to say about it. Due to the fact that it is a translation of an anc ...more
Daniel Moss
Feb 05, 2016 Daniel Moss rated it really liked it
Been a while since I read this book. I really want to re-read it again as well as read the rest of the series.
Jenny H
Feb 13, 2016 Jenny H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Recension kommer på min blogg; länkar til den här när jag skrivit och postat den.
Nov 26, 2015 Cristhian rated it it was amazing
La quintaescencia de mi niñez.
Hypocrite Lecteur
Nov 28, 2015 Hypocrite Lecteur rated it liked it
"What a river moon lights up forever."
Aug 01, 2007 Tobey rated it really liked it
This is the best full translation of the 16th C Chinese classic. The Beijing Press version is full of typo's and weird translations. Yu's is well researched and worth reading if you have the time and interest (it is four volumes). If you don't have the time the Waley translation Monkey is a good abridgment. The other adaptation Monkey: A Journey to the West is the best quick read and great for younger readers but it isn't a direct translation.
Sep 04, 2007 Sue rated it it was amazing
Classic Chinese literature at its best, and in superlative translation. Great for anyone who wants a good adventure/redemption myth/story, or, for that matter, anyone who thinks they've already read the literary classics. Now that really good, really footnoted translations of Chinese classics are readily available and intelligible, the whole notion of "canon" has exploded! Thank you for your work, Mr. Anthony Yu!
Feb 07, 2016 Indra rated it really liked it
Sun Wukong es de los personajes más charming y divertidos de los que he leído, las aventuras están muy entretenidas, los glimpses (estoy pocheando mucho, ya qué) de la China antigua están bien chidos (todo el rollo de la burocracia entre los dioses y demonios está muy chistoso ) y notar cómo influyó sobre Dragon Ball también está divertido. Lo he disfrutado mucho, sigue el vol. 2 (;
Adelaide Mcginnity
A tremendous work of literature translated beautifully with a mixture of vernacular and high prose. The tribulations of the monkey king (Pilgrim Sun) and the Tang Monk are truly extraordinary and beautifully composed, the descriptions lurid and vivid, and the scope and pure imagination unlike anything I have read before. I can't wait to get my hands on the other volumes!
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Wu Cheng'en (simplified Chinese: 吴承恩; traditional Chinese: 吳承恩; pinyin: Wú Chéng'ēn, ca. 1505–1580 or 1500–1582, courtesy name Ruzhong (汝忠), pen name "Sheyang Hermit," was a Chinese novelist and poet of the Ming Dynasty, best known for being the probable author of one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, Journey to the West, also called Monkey.
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Other Books in the Series

The Journey to the West (4 books)
  • The Journey to the West, Volume 2
  • Journey to the West, Volume 3
  • Journey to the West, Volume 4

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