thank you for your persistence and your regular updates. This was a great ride! :-)
thank you for your persistence and your regular updates. This was a great ride! :-)
any chance i can get a pdf version?
You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree
Muliono, Lorrycai, Anh, Smurf, Crazee, Wandering, CrazyT, Hoangd, Wes2YK, you are welcome, and thank you. Chowbeng, of no, no, no ... I don't want any kiss ... not from you. Gubrak, I did not realize you hate WXB so much ... darkcser, technically, Deer and Cauldron does not count, since the official translation already existed for a while. Ace, thanks for the info. I incorporate most of those into my source document. Xiao Ma, Lzydude, that's the plan. But please be patient, I am going to clean-up the source (plus incorporate the additional info, correction, etc.), and post it as 'unabridged'. But actually I prefer pdf, since Jin Yong's chapters are so long, and all footnotes become 'end notes'.
Speaking about pdf, I remember one of you (don't remember which one) formatted my work into some kind of e-pub or kindle or what have you. I want to ask if any of you would want to volunteer:
1. I ask that you do not mess with my work, i.e. you only format it, not editing it.
2. I ask that you will not distribute it for any commercial purpose.
If you are interested, contact me.
One more update after this.
“If there is any problem later on, submit the memorial using the southern tour as precedent. There are numerous ears and eyes in the Palace, inevitably people will know, in which case, do not submit any memorials.”
“If you hear any information, treat it in accordance with the previous memorial.”
Having received the Emperor’s commission, Wang Hongxu absolutely did not dare to leak anything. In the memorial he said, “By being selected from among the scholars, Chen [minister/subject, term of address used when speaking to a ruler] experiences and receives the sage’s grace, there is no way I can render service to repay kindness, no matter what; for which I am really ashamed. Now entering the palace courtyard on the thirteenth day of the month, miao ke [4th earthly branch, 5-7am] hour, respectfully received imperial confirmation along with the sealed secret order, by this time Cai and Zha, two ministers have not arrived. Acting with reverence Chen opened it and read it silently, I cannot bear to be extremely grateful and frightened at the same time. I have to admit that Chen was ignorant, and have been ignorant several times, and thus it is my responsibility to look up to the Heaven’s kindness, for breaking the rule in appointing the confidential, only by exhausting myself being a dog or a horse I vow my strength in loyalty, looking up to repay the holy sage’s ten-thousand and one kindness. To find favor and untiring instruction from above, to think over how Chen somehow exposed some rumor, the responsibility is indeed too great, all the more Chen feels like weeping, forever strictly abide by this moment, three times sealing my mouth, even toward my own flesh and blood like father, son or brothers, I will also never tell, I will make doubly sure to look up to the monarch’s will in understanding your idea. From now on, any affair that I hear in the Capital, at any time Chen will respectfully request the holy sage to transcribe tiny suitable memorial, a confidential report to be reviewed. As for confidential matter related to the imperial decree, it will be reported in accompanying memorial. I have been instructed.” (Kangxi noted: ‘Yes’.)
For the most part, the memorials submitted by Wang Hongxu pertaining to land tax, transportation, money minting, salt trade, and other public financial matters. He was especially interested in finance and economics affairs; therefore, for a long time afterwards, he served as the Minister of Department of Transport & Irrigation and the Minister of Revenue. Originally, these finance and economics affairs may be reported via formal memorial to the throne, but since secret memorials were mostly dealing with corrupt practices, violations in matters that those government officials had vested interest in, confidential reports seemed to be more appropriate.
Apart from corrupt practices in finance and economics, the nature of Wang Hongxu’s secret memorials was extremely extensive. There were several secret memorials related to ‘The Chen Rubi Case’. This legal case started when Chen Rubi took three thousand taels bribe, and later on it developed into a big case, ‘The minister political affair, the Nine Ministers’ zhan shi [lit. excellent matters] Ke Dao, and the others visited the Ministry of Justice yamen for a joint hearing.’
Wang Hongxu participated in the joint hearing, and wrote the proceedings in detail in a secret memorial to Kangxi. Among other things he spoke about the dispute between Manchurian and Han officials: “… in Chen Rubi’s case, the decision was to have him beheaded, all Manchurian Daren already agreed. Li Zhenyu and Chen said: convicting without oral confession, all Daren ought to deliberate, what words Chen Rubi wrote in his letter yesterday. Chen also said: not to conceal anything. Manchurian Daren should have the officer in charge of this case to come over and let all Daren listen to him … Manchurian Daren said, it has nothing to do, there is no need to get oral confession. Han Daren said, these four characters ‘pretending to be dead’ [jia zhuang shen si] ought to go, the former muddle-headedness and confusion of yesterday must also go. For this reason these four characters are deleted. Tu Cuizhong said: concealing records and the crime of obtaining stolen goods are not enough to warrant beheading. The political affair minister said: Change it. Thereupon Shu Lu changed it to ‘Execution by hanging’. Ke Dao said: Still, we must execute under the San Fa Si’s [three judicial chief ministries in imperial China] supervision. Before the group of Manchurian Daren responded, a messenger from Chen Rubi’s household arrived to deliver the oral confession he personally wrote, but Manchurian Daren did not accept it. Li Luyu said: Previously the San Fa Si failed to obtain Chen Rubi’s personal confession, today his own family came to deliver it, yet we do not want to accept it. How are we going to deal with it? … This confession actually contains very few words compared to what Shu Lu actually wrote … For the interrogating officer to change confession or make up confession, it has always been a crime deserving disciplinary action, the regulation about this is very serious … All Manchurian Daren are afraid to attract blame, they were unwilling to speak up. The political affair minister has no choice but to listen to Shu Lu’s ruling …”
Kangxi remarked, “This memorial is very good, it profoundly adheres to high-ranking minister’s style. Zhen understood.”
The principal content of the memorial was to say that ‘Manchurian Daren’ accused wrongly the defendant’s circumstances, while the ‘Han Daren’ did everything in their power to exonerate him. How this case was subsequently closed is unclear, it is believed that Kangxi was being comparatively lenient in his ruling. It’s worth noting that although Manchu officials traditionally held more power in the imperial court, yet Kangxi did not side with Manchu officers at all. At the same time it is worth seeing that deciding on death penalty at that time was a very serious business, that it could not be decided based on one high-ranking minister’s words.
Occasionally there are some trivial matters in Wang Hongxu’s secret memorials; reading it today, it is quite fascinating: There is a lengthy report about the transportation [orig. ‘horse’] affair, the last paragraph says, “… Li Xiu, Yin Debu, two people, I don’t know who told them this, but they said that on the outside Your Majesty says that they are big gangsters; Li Xiu and Yin Debu panicked and said other things. Afterwards Chen explain in a secret memorial, and beg Your Majesty to keep it in sealed envelope, and put imperial seal on it, to guard against people take a peek and disclose it to create harm …” (Kangxi remarked: Noted.)
And then there is a lengthy confidential report about whether the Chief Examiner, the Deputy Chief Examiner have committed fraud. The last paragraph says, “A certain Song Yunxi, young son of Song Luo, a successful candidate in the imperial provincial examination, went to capital to take the metropolitan examination on the twenty-first day of the eleventh month. He told people: all these years his father has dizziness that usually flare-out only once in a long while, but this year he had a dizzy spell in the military once, and then when he went to Yangzhou he got another one, which were a bit more tense compared to the previous ones; fortunately after it passes, he is still able to work. This report asks for new grace, in the future when he requires approval he would come to the Capital to explain other things …” (Kangxi remarked: Noted.)
Song Luo was originally the inspector-general of Jiangning (district, Nanjing, Jiangsu), the new appointment was the Shangshu [department head] of the Ministry of Appointments. He was very capable. Kangxi cared about his health.
There was a secret memorial reporting a government official who was guilty and was banished to an army post as a punishment, the guards who escorted him extorted money from him, ten taels of silver per person. The government official did not want to give, but raining insult on them instead. One night the official was suddenly tied up, all money in his possession was taken away. This is an insignificant matter, yet Wang Hongxu reported it just the same.
Li Xu’s memorials
Li Xu was Kangxi’s trusted aide, he held the official post as the supervisor of weaving industry in Suzhou for thirty years. Li Xu’s brother-in-law [lit. younger sister’s husband] Cao Yin was the supervisor of weaving industry in Jiangning for more than twenty years. Cao Yin was the paternal grandfather of Cao Xueqin, the author of ‘A Dream of Red Mansions’. Li Xu, Cao Yin, as well as the supervisor of weaving industry in Hangzhou Sun Wencheng, three people constantly presented secret memorials to Kangxi, reporting about the situation in Jiangnan. For the large part, the reports pertaining to rain water, harvest, the price of rice, epidemic, the situation of the people, the reputation of the government officials, et cetera. At that time there was no newspaper, Kangxi’s main source of information about the actual situation in all parts of the country was these memorials to the throne.
In the summer of Kangxi’s thirty-second year there was drought at Huai and Xu rivers in Jiangnan, with rainfall in the sixth month, Li Xu reported the harvest and the price of rice. Kangxi noted: “I heard the sun rose erroneously south of Huai and Xu rivers in the fifth month, the summer failed to arrived at the appointed time, the people are flustered and in panic, especially in the two Zhejiang. Morning and night Zhen anxiously consider this matter, my lying down and eating are disturbed, yet in the visit to the south, must ask for details, hearing thy memorials, the night and evening’s toil is lessened. After the harvest, write more memorials.”
Forty-seventh year, nineteenth day of the first month, Li Xu sent a memorial like this: “Respectfully wish the Ten-thousand Year ten thousand of peace. Early twelfth month, on the seventh day, last year, humble official got wind of the robbery case in Taicang [county, Suzhou, Jiangsu], while dispatching people to investigate, I promptly write a report, together with non-jointed bamboo strips, and send Wang Kecheng of my household to present it to superior. Today is the seventeenth day of the first month, Wang Kecheng returned and stated, ‘All the non-jointed bamboo strip memorials have been submitted, folded report [usually in accordion form] have not been issued.’ Hearing this, Chen Li Xu panicked. Thinking that all the folded reports have been imperially distributed, that is, if they haven’t received comments from superior, the original report must have been issued. learning that they have not been issued today, Chen’s heart is extremely bewildered. Repeatedly extracting information rigorously, only learned about this: ‘The folded report was hidden inside the pouch, in the hastening on the journey all night, the fastening was not tight, the pouch was lost along the way to Dezhou, nowhere to be found. Because the bamboo strips are critical, did not dare to delay, Xiaode [the lowly one] went to the Capital, hazily delivered the bamboo strips, muddle headedly said there is no folded report. This is the truth.’ And other similar confessions. Accordingly Chen Li Xu had Wang Kecheng severely locked up and flogged, while waiting for the imperial decree on how to deal with him. Yet Chen is unable to employ people appropriately, to such an extent as to commit mistakes. Alarmed, frightened, scared; this guilt is really cannot be dismissed, asking the Ten-thousand Year to promptly bestow punishment. Hereby the original report is re-transcribed and submitted, begging the Holy Sage to review. Waiting for the blame Chen Li Xu cannot bear to tremble extremely.”
Kangxi remarked in vermillion ink: “Thy memorial was no more than secret report that cannot be associated with the local officials. Be lenient with thy household person. If outsiders hear about it, it would not be too good.”
It is worth noting that it was not so much as Kangxi’s clemency; rather, it was his fundamental attitude: the Emperor sent people out to make secret inquiry and received secret memorial was a dishonorable matter, a disreputable matter, not an upright and frank work, not a just and honorable way to handle matters, that no matter what no outsiders were to find out. In replying officially to the secret memorials sent by his subordinates, Kangxi has never used other people’s hand. There was one time when his right hand was hurt and he could not write, with difficulty he replied officially with his left hand. In today’s world, the ruler of every country dispatches spies and inquires secret reports for private reasons, yet the public accepts it as the way it should be, although it could be said that it is politically a great fall. This kind of system of values toward the ‘special task operatives’ was perhaps a clear dividing line between the Qing and Ming political corruptness. Wu Zetian [624-705, Tang empress, reigned 690-705] used special agents excessively, Qin Hui [1090-1155, Song Dynasty official who betrayed Yue Fei] used a lot of special agents, during the late Ming, special agents went on the rampage; later generations mostly believe that it led to downward spiral of the Ming Dynasty’s political system. In order to increase the antipathy toward Emperor Yongzheng, later generation people fabricated a legend that he had used the ‘flying guillotine’, special assassin team to kill people.
Kangxi’s forty-eighth year, sixth day of the seventh month, in his report to wish good health, Li Xu also included the news of Jiangnan’s Tidu [local commander] Zhang Yunyi’s death due to sickness. To wish good health to the Emperor means ‘to wish the Lord of Ten-thousand Years good luck and success, ten thousand good fortunes and peace like gold’, wishing great luck, great profit is a proper thing to do, the news of death must be reported in separate memorial, certainly these two cannot be mixed together, otherwise, it would implicitly cursing the Emperor to die. Li Xu’s memorial has violated the fundamental taboo, it was an extremely muddleheaded report.
In the memorial he said, “Respectfully wishing the Ten-thousand Years ten-thousand of peace. The Tidu over the military affairs of the whole province of Jiangnan, subject Zhang Yunyi, fell ill on Kangxi’s forty-eighth year, eighteenth day of the sixth month, with carbuncle on his lower back. He did not recover and died on the ‘si’ hour [9-11am] of third day of the seventh month, at the age of fifty-eight; it is included here for your information. The weather in Suzhou during the sixth month is also included in the report, begging the Holy Sage to review.”
Seeing this greatly ominous memorial, naturally Kangxi was greatly displeased, but his reprimand to him still carried a humorous tone. He wrote in vermillion ink, “Report of wishing good health must not be mixed together with this kind of matter, it is extremely irreverent. Thou knew several foul words, I wonder which one I should use?”
Seeing the imperial remark, naturally Li Xu was scared that his soul flew away and scattered; hastily he wrote another memorial to apologize for the offense, while thoroughly confessed his guilt. Kangxi remarked, “Noted.”
Kangxi’s fifty-first year, seventh month, weaving supervisor of Jiangning, Cao Yin (Cao Xueqin’s grandfather) received order to go to Yangzhou to manage the engraving of the ‘Pei Wen Yun Fu’ [lit. government mansion of ‘respectful cultural charm’] when he caught malaria and his condition was very serious. Li Xu promptly went to visit him, Cao Yin asked him to write a memorial, asking for some medicine from Kangxi.
As soon as Kangxi received the memorial, he replied in vermillion ink, “Thy memorial has been received well. I hereby bestow the medicine to treat malaria. Afraid that it would be delayed, I bestow post horse to rush overnight. Yet if the malaria does not turn into diarrhea, it won’t be bad. If the illness changes, this medicine must not be used. The charlatans of the south often use a dose of this medicine, the number of people they harm cannot be counted, you must be careful. If Cao Yin originally ate ginseng, he may caught present illness from the ginseng. Jinjina (that is ‘quinine’, the original text used Manchurian script) is used specifically for the treatment of malaria. Use two qian [1 qian = 1/10 of a tael], that’s it. And then take a dose of wine. If the illness is getting somewhat lighter, take another dose; it should control the sickness. After it is under control, take perhaps one qian or eight fen. Take two doses in succession, may even take the roots. If it is not malaria, this medicine must not be taken; you must take this seriously. Urgent, urgent, urgent, urgent!”
To be continued ...
If somebody is going to come out with an electronic version can I suggest doing it in another format other than PDF initially?
PDF is awkward for a kindle, and while it is pretty straightforward to convert other formats to PDF, converting *from* PDF (line breaks, page numbers, paragraph delimiters) is a pain.
PDF is probably the best format for tablets and laptops.... It preserved footnotes and maintains page numbering. docx and epub is great for ipods/ipad mini/kindle/etc.... epub v2 has only endnotes.... and footnotes in v3 is a pain, though iBooks makes footnotes easier....
I'm so late to the party! Congrats on finishing the translation, foxs!
It's been such a wonderful journey and I'm hoping to read more of your translation work in the future. You are totally awesome to devote so much time and effort to entertain those of us who are Chinese illiterate. Greatly appreciate all your hard work . May you have a long and restful vacation.
I can help do the epub.
I'll shot you an email to your gmail account.
It might take a little bit of time for me. But i won't edit your work or do any weird commercial stuff with it.
i normally like epub because it's works on most ereaders/smart phones/tablets etc
For me, I find PDF is really slow rendering, especially if you want the entire book in one file.
It's all a matter of where you prefer to read it.
Last edited by wandering; 03-21-13 at 11:19 PM.
Check out WXFS translated comic of Tian Long Ba Bu
Last updated: 02/04/2008
Jack, Szfong, MrWeird, trouble is, I don't know how to convert to all those format of your preference, I don't even own a kindle or iPad or any tablet. Fortunately Wandering is offering his service, so I'll just wait for his email. Tweety, Anh, you are most welcome. Thanks for taking this journey with me. Jin Yong wrote this novel in 2 years 11 months. I started back in May or June 2010, and finished March 2013, all in all I spent 2 years and 9 months. Not bad, eh? But it was readers like you who motivated me the most.
This is the last part. I hereby declare this translation is complete. I will start posting the unabridged version this weekend.
Kangxi wrote four ‘urgent’ words in succession, he also dispatched post horses to expressly deliver the medicine to Yangzhou, so that it arrived in nine days; it can clearly be seen that he cherished and extremely concerned about Cao Yin. Quinine was the correct medicine to be prescribed to cure malaria; however, it is possible that Cao Yin had other complications that in the end he succumbed to the illness and died. Kangxi deeply lamented his passing, he ordered Li Xu to properly take care for the family Cao Yin left behind.
In his memorials, Li Xu also talked a lot about the experiments in new kind of rice. Kangxi attached great importance to the quality of rice. After growing crops on a trial basis in many other ways, they managed to breed a good variety, and then they sent the seeds to various regions for the government officials and members of the gentry to do the test planting. Li Xu then presented the memorials reporting the progress of the test planting, official so-and-so planted how many mu [unit area, approx. 1/15 of a hectare], each mu produced how many dan [unit volume, approx. 100 liters] how many dou [1/10 of a dan]; merchant so-and-so grew how many mu, each mu yielded how many dan, how many dou, and so on. Take the memorial submitted on Kangxi’s fifty-eighth year, the twenty-forth day of the sixth month for example: “Your humble servant has planted imperial paddy one hundred mu, and gathered in the crops on the fifteenth of the sixth month. Each mu obtains approximately four dan two dou three sheng [1/10 of a dou], respectfully milled one dou of the new rice to be presented. The original field was put in order without delay, by the twenty-third day of the sixth month the second seedling has been planted. As for the imperial paddy planted by Suzhou’s squires, all have also been harvested. The breakdown of the harvest in place of the original, the breakdown of the new crops, is respectfully submitted for imperial review.” It can clearly be seen that Li Xu was still responsible for the task of ‘planting imperial paddy on experimental fields’.
Kangxi assigned this ‘imperial paddy’ test-planting task to government officials, members of the gentry, and business people in various regions of the country, each person planted at least two, three mu of field. Li Xu planted a hundred mu, he had the largest experimental farm. At that time the crop was called ‘imperial park’s rouge rice’, the color was red and it was sweet smelling; made into rice porridge it looked pleasing to the eye. In the ‘Dream of Red Mansions’, the gift presented by the village head Wu to the Jia Mansion was precisely this kind of rice.
During his tour to the south, Kangxi saw that the people loaded the boats full of pig’s hair and chicken feather. Upon asking about the purpose of those things, he found out that people used it as fertilizer in paddy fields. Later on he issued an imperial decree to perform experiments; the result was very good. Compared to later generation who did not pay attention to fertilizer, who did not go through experiments and large scale testing in satellite fields but submitted fraudulent report to conceal the truth, Kangxi’s practice in developing paddy was much more scientific.
Li Lincheng’s memorials
Kangxi had considerable sense of humor; even in giving criticism in serious documents, he often used humor.
On Kangxi’s fortieth year, twenty-fourth day of the tenth month, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces’ Tidu Li Lincheng submitted a memorial to the throne. This man’s official title was: ‘Tidu of Shaanxi, Gansu, and other places’ Zongbing [regional commander] and Right Dudu [provincial military governor], plus first class downgraded to second class bearing the guilt of pursuing meritorious service’. The memorial said, “Your Majesty inquired, ‘Is Tidu well, your body well? All officers are well? Formerly, from time to time the one holding Tidu position submitted a memorial about the situation of rainwater, now that you came to take up the post, why you did not submit any memorials? From now on you ought to send memorials from time to time about the situation in your place to let the Emperor know. The Emperor also bestows you deer tongue, deer tail, dried meat and so on, you may inspect and receive’, and so on. Although Chen respectfully setting up an incense burner table, leading fellow generals and other government officials, gazing toward the imperial city watchtower to thank the Emperor’s favor, the receiving is finished. Apart from Chen respectfully offering silky noise and conferring foodstuff, looking at other ways to present memorials to thank the Heaven’s kindness, I will also present and announce the matters of this place, the situation of rainwater, to declare the imperial edict to the subjects; Chen will solemnly obey Your Majesty’s decree and reply in everything. Admittedly Chen has been stupid, fortunately it is the time when the Holy Sage is born that I encounter Yao Shun lord [from ‘yao shun yu tang’ - see note 12, Chapter 14], that I undergo years of peace and security, not in the least getting what I deserve, morning and night being fearful and in terror …”
This man did not understand Kangxi’s character, his memorial contained a great amount of polite phrases to sing Kangxi’s praises; concerning local issues and situation of rainwater, he only reported the good news and not the bad news. Most probably this man was a military officer of the Han army banner, and he had employed a secretary, who did not understand the customs; he also put an official seal on the cover of his memorial.
Kangxi’s remarked in vermillion ink: “Noted. Next time in your report use Qing character, no need to use seal.” ‘Qing character’ was Manchu scribe, Kangxi’s meaning was: this kind of memorial was a secret report, not a formal document at all; he wanted Li Lincheng to write it himself, if he did not know Han characters, then he should have used Manchu characters.
Upon receiving the imperial criticism, Li Lincheng submitted another memorial: “… Looking up only toward my Emperor who is continuing on to the utmost heaven, having divine martial art skill and brave literary knowledge; although during the day the Emperor’s holy body has ten thousand crucial points, it is as if there is not a time when you do not remember the people’s welfare. In former times because Hedong [lit. river east; not sure, perhaps his alias?] apologize for ages, since in Holy Sage’s bosom above there are abundant compassion and special favor, in reply leniency has been issued, sincere merit lofty ten-thousand ages, virtuous steps a hundred rulers, encompassing inside and outside of the ocean, not uncommon to the Yao [see above] in heaven … In responding to the imperial decree, it is only proper that Chen use Qing character in writing the memorial; however, although Chen knew a little bit Qing character, over the years my eyes have become weak and I am muddle-headed, I cannot write, plus Qing words’ construction make no sense, if I have other people transcribing it, Chen is not well-versed in its profound meaning, honestly I am afraid the words and sentences will be improper. I further ask in earnest for the imperial kindness, to let Chen from now on when presenting matters in memorials, to be allowed to still use the Han characters, to avoid the crime of contradicting the multitude of common people.”
Kangxi’s comment: “Noted. These Han characters thou may not necessarily able to use either.” He was fully aware that this military employee had limited ink in his belly, the memorial must have been written by other people, thereupon he mocked him a little bit. Afterwards he also did not expect to receive memorials or local secret report written personally by him.
Although Li Lincheng had his secretary wrote the memorials, he still did not follow the rule. For example, ‘although Chen knew a little bit Qing character, over the years my eyes have become weak and I am muddle-headed, I cannot write, plus Qing words’ construction make no sense’. It should be ‘plus I do not understand Qing words’ construction’. [Translator’s note: in the original text, the difference is in the placement of the word ‘make no sense’. 又兼清字之文理不通 vs. 又兼不通清字之文理.] The original sentence in the memorial actually criticized Manchu words as ‘make no sense’. Fortunately Kangxi was magnanimous, he did not pursue; if it were the meticulous and deep-probing Emperor Yongzheng, perhaps he would issue an imperial decree to harshly reprimand him, to punish him by ‘downgrading him one class bearing the guilt of pursuing meritorious service’.
The Deer and The Cauldron was first published as a serial in Ming Pao newspaper (Hong Kong) on October 24, 1969, and ended on September 23, 1972; altogether it was serialized for two years eleven months. My usual practice in writing this serial was to write a segment a day, and publish it the next day, so this novel was also written continuously in two years eleven months. If there is nothing extraordinary happens (in life, there will always be extraordinary things happen), this will be my last wuxia novel.
However, ‘The Deer and The Cauldron’ already does not look too much like a wuxia novel, rather, it is a historical novel. When this novel was published in the newspaper, the readers unceasingly wrote to ask: “Is ‘The Deer and The Cauldron’ written by someone else?” Because they found that this novel is greatly different than my former work. The fact is that this novel was written completely by myself. I am very grateful for the readers who doted on me and pampered me; when they don’t like certain book or certain passage that I write, they concluded: “It is written by others.” They would reserve positive review for myself, and push the unfavorable review to some ‘ghost writer’.
‘The Deer and The Cauldron’ is completely different from my previous wuxia novels; it was intentional. An author should not always repeat his style and form, he should try to create something new as far as possible.
Some readers were not happy with ‘The Deer and The Cauldron’, because of the main protagonist Wei Xiaobao’s moral character, and because of excessive violation of system of values. Readers of wuxia novels are accustomed to substitute themselves into the hero of the book, yet Wei Xiaobao cannot be substituted. In this regard, some readers were deprived of some fun, for which I apologize.
However, it is not necessary that the protagonist of a novel is a ‘good guy’. One of the primary missions of a novel is to create characters: good guys, bad guys, good guys with shortcomings, bad guys with good merits, and so on, anything can be written. In China during Kangxi’s era, a character like Wei Xiaobao is not out of question. When an author writes about a character, the intention is not to make this character necessarily typical. Hamlet’s indecision, Luo Ting who can speak but cannot do, the priest in ‘Scarlet Letter’ who took part in adultery, Anna Karenina who betrayed her husband; the authors are simply portraying characters like them, not at all encouraging the readers to imitate their behavior. It would be best if the readers do not act like Li Kui of ‘The Water Margin’, who lost in gambling and stole money, or like Song Jiang, who chopped the mistress who unceasingly blackmailed him to death. Lin Daiyu [from ‘The Dream of Red Mansions’] is clearly not a role model for the modern female readers. The sexual relations Wei Xiaobao had with women were not as many as Jia Baoyu at all, to say the least, Wei Xiaobao was not as gay as Jia Baoyu, who already had Qin Zhong, but also had Jiang Yuhan. Lu Xun [1881-1936, one of the earliest and best known modern Chinese writers] wrote ‘The True Story of Ah Q’ , it was not to agitate the vitality of victory at all.
If the characters in the novels are perfect, unavoidably it is not realistic. Novels reflect the society; in real-life society there is no such thing as absolutely perfect person. Novels are not textbooks in morality at all. It’s just that a lot of the readers of my novels are teenage girls, hence I ought to remind these naïve young friends this one thing: Wei Xiaobao attached most importance to yi qi, indeed this is a good moral character; as for his other actions, absolutely must never be copied.
Altogether I wrote twelve long wuxia novels, two novelettes, and one short story. The fourteen characters of the first character of the titles make a rhyming couplet:
[from Wikipedia: Loose translation: Shooting a white deer, snow flutters around the skies; Smiling, [one] writes about the divine chivalrous one, leaning against bluish lovebirds (or lover)]
The last insignificant short story ‘The Sword of Yue Maiden’ was not included.
I started to write the earliest ‘The Book and The Sword’ [Translator’s note: actually, the literal translation of the title is ‘the story of book and sword, debt of gratitude coupled with duty to avenge’] in 1955, and finished writing the last book ‘The Deer and The Cauldron’ in September 1972; fifteen long and short novels written in seventeen years. The revision work began in March 1970, and finished in mid-1980, a total of ten years. Of course, during all that time I also did many other things, primarily managing ‘Ming Pao’ and writing editorials for ‘Ming Pao’.
During encounters with early readers, the most often asked question was: “Which of your own novels do you like best?” This question is very difficult to answer, therefore, I often did not reply. Speaking about ‘personal preference’, I prefer several books with comparatively intense emotion: ‘Divine Eagle Gallant Knights’, ‘Heavenly Sword and Dragon-slaying Saber’, ‘The Other Tales of The Flying Fox’, ‘Smiling Proud Wanderer’, ‘Demi Gods and Semi Devils’. People often asked, “Which of your own novel you think is the best?” This is a question about technique and value. I believe that over the course of my writing career I have made some progress: the long novels are slightly better than the novelettes and the short story, the later works are somewhat better than the early ones. But many readers did not agree. And I really like it that they do not agree.
My fifteen wuxia novels are finally revised by the beginning of the 21st century, the project is completed in July of 2006, mainly it was revision of writing style, there are no major changes on the plot. I seriously considered major change on ‘The Deer and The Cauldron’, but in the end I decided not to, because this novel tells the story of the golden age of the Qing Dynasty during Kangxi’s reign, the main focus was the era itself rather than the people. In that era, this kind of story is plausible. I definitely do not encourage present-age young people to imitate Wei Xiaobao: not opposing mother becoming a prostitute, not knowing Han script, bribing and being corrupt, exchanging people at the execution ground, contempt of the law, after killing someone using drug to dispose the body, even taking seven wives. Just as ‘The Dream of Red Mansions’ and ‘The Water Margin’ are good novels, but in modern society, Jia Baoyu and Li Kui’s actions cannot be imitated.
I have been a silence reader for many years.
I just want to congratulate and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the translation you have finished all these years...
Your steady translation speed is second to none here, and I really appreciate all the time and effort you spent for making us readers happy and entertained.
Take your time for rest, and hopefully you can help Ren and the others in translating Step into The Past..
But no matter what your decision will be, this forum has been the testament to your high quality of translation work.
There is a free well documented tool called Calibre for converting from format to format...(http://calibre-ebook.com/)
They note the hardest format to convert from is PDF .
But will see what comes out.
Appreciate your efforts.
Congratulations and thank You.
I am Reading Both, your and John Minfords Translation and your one is so much better.
I am translating it into German as we speak, and I shall (hopefully) finish it by the end of the Year. (That's my contract).
May I ask one Question?
Sometimes you refer to Wei Xiaobao in the third form as Lao Ze.
Can you explain that a little bit please?
I am confused as why he does it.
And thank you again, JM left quite a bit out, and changed things around that did not help the Novel.
Ari, welcome to the forum (officially ...) About Step into the Past, several other people asked me about it, although some people say that I can't handle the truth ... I mean, the length ... (Running away and hide in the corner, while Ms. Smurf threw her sandal at me ...) All kidding aside, if, a big IF, nobody is working on it and it has been dead for a while, then I'll consider helping. However, right now I see that an expert, Mr. Ren Wo Xing, is working on it. I would prefer his translation over mine any day. Anh, you are most welcome.
Jack, I am lazy ... if someone else is willing, I'd rather delegate this task to him/her. Wandering has told me that he is going to help, hence I'll simply send my source file to him and let him format/convert it. Honestly, I really wish there is some way I can preserve the MS-Word's footnotes. If it were me, I want to know as much as possible as I read, I don't want to wait until the end of the chapter to see what it is.
Let's brainstorm as for the best format (layout), file format, and how we are going to save the files so that all of you can have access to it.
Ren, thanks. As I mentioned above, I noticed you resurrected Step Into The Past. I am looking forward to reading it.
Xiao Ma, one year to finish all 50 chapters? (Not even one year, it's only about 9 months to the end of this year) Well, I suppose if you work full time then it is possible. Are you a professional translator? About 'Laozi', see note 1 of Chapter 1 in the 'Unabridged Thread'. I tried to keep my work as close as possible to Jin Yong's original word, and Chinese use a lot of different words to call themselves and each other. But I always try to give explanation the first time that word appears. If you have other questions, pm me, I'll give you my email address.
Unabridged is starting. I can't promise it will be quick, but I'll try to post at least one chapter per day. (I don't know what happened, suddenly I cannot 'paste from MS-Word' like before. I swear I did not mess any settings, either the setting of this forum or my computer setting. It happened only this morning.)
@foxs: Would you consider taking over "Giddens Ko (九把刀) - Kung Fu (功夫)" instead? :-)
(Just keeping my own hopes high *g*)