Title: Monkey: A Folk Tale of China / Journey to the West
Author: Wu Cheng’en, Arthur Waley (trans)
Publisher: Folio Society, 1968
Condition: Hardcover, cloth spine and hard boards. Very good condition for its age. Minimal wear.
About the book (from Wikipedia):
Monkey: A Folk-Tale of China, more often known as simply Monkey, is an abridged translation by Arthur Waley of the sixteenth century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West (Chinese: 西游记; Pinyin: xī yóu jì) by Wu Cheng’en of the Ming dynasty. Originally published in 1942, it remains one of the most-read English-language versions of the novel.
At the outset of the novel, Buddha seeks a pilgrim who will travel West, to India. The hope is to retrieve sacred scriptures by which the Chinese people may be enlightened so that their behaviour may accord with the tenets of Buddhism. The young monk Tripitaka volunteers to undertake the pilgrimage. Along the way, he encounters and frees the Monkey King, and he and Monkey thereafter recruit Pigsy and Sandy. They liberate a captive princess and punish her abductor, who has also murdered her father. The father is resurrected and reinstalled as king. They meet several bodhisattvas and fight fierce monsters, before finally arriving at Buddha’s palace.
Waley’s translation was for many years the most popular translation of Journey to the West available in the English language and perforce cited by Western scholars of Chinese literature and appreciated by Western readers. The British poet Edith Sitwell characterized Monkey as “a masterpiece of right sound”, one that was “absence of shadow, like the clearance and directness of Monkey’s mind.” Professor of Chinese literature David Lattimore described it as a “minor landmark of 20th-century English translation”, though adding that it had been overtaken as the most authoritative English edition with the publication of Anthony C. Yu’s four-volumes, unabridged translation published in the late 1970s and early 80s by the University of Chicago Press. Elaine Yee Lin Ho in her study of the British writer Timothy Mo says Monkey remains “the most popular and textually accessible translation” of Journey to the West.