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Thread: "Wulin" in Jin Yong's Qing Dynasty-era stories.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default "Wulin" in Jin Yong's Qing Dynasty-era stories.

    A "wulin" nominally still existed during the eras of Jin Yong's Qing Dynasty-era stories, DUKE OF MT. DEER, FLYING FOX OF SNOWY MOUNTAIN, and BOOK & SWORD: GRATITUDE & REVENGE. There were still martial artists who fought for chivalric causes, followed a code of honor, and resisted the latest foreign invader, but still...the *character* of the Qing Dynasty wulin in Jin Yong's world seems different from that of its counterparts in earlier eras. In DGSD, the CONDOR HEROES TRILOGY, and SPW, there were many different wulin sects and distinct martial arts systems, and these sects often had conflicts among themselves that had nothing to do with national politics. Moreover, the wulin of the Sung, Yuan, and Ming Dynasty eras bothered with such infrastructure as occasional all-wulin conventions and the selection of a wulin director, and everybody seemed to be interested in becoming the # 1 martial artist in the world or making his her sect the # 1 sect in wulin.

    By the time of the Qing Dynasty, things had changed considerably. Although there were still active martial artists, there didn't seem to be an organized wulin anymore. Among the martial sects, only the oldest and the most powerful of them (e.g. Shaolin, Mo Dong, and Ngor Mei) still existed. There were no all-wulin conventions, and nobody spoke of aspiring to or electing an office of wulin director. Everything seemed geared towards resisting/overthrowing the Qing Dynasty; nobody was interested in becoming the # 1 wulin martial artist or making his/her sect the # 1 wulin sect anymore. Wulin as it was known during the Sung, Yuan, and Ming era seemed to no longer exist by the time of the Qing Dynasty.

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    Member Yuet Thi's Avatar
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    That is one of the reason why I dislike stories set in the Qing Dynasty. It just doesn't have that 'wuxia' feeling to it. Everything seems so modern and like you said, there's really no more sects besides the most powerful ones.
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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    It seems to still be there in Flying Fox. There are inter-school feuds among the members waiting for Flying Fox to arrive. There's a struggle for treasure, the backstory feud between Hu Fei and Miao Renfeng. It's not a political novel by any means.

    I haven't read the prequel. How is it in terms of this discussion?

    EDIT: Also, isn't A Deadly Secret set during the Qing?

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    Senior Member S Beaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    It seems to still be there in Flying Fox. There are inter-school feuds among the members waiting for Flying Fox to arrive. There's a struggle for treasure, the backstory feud between Hu Fei and Miao Renfeng. It's not a political novel by any means.

    I haven't read the prequel. How is it in terms of this discussion?

    EDIT: Also, isn't A Deadly Secret set during the Qing?
    Yes, the Deadly Secret and the Flying Fox series really don't have that much government involvement. It's mostly Bood & Sword and DOMD...which is expected when your main character is either the brother of the emperor or BFFs with the emperor. Hence, the section of wulin depicted in those novels are probably a little more politics-centric. I haven't actually gone through all of DOMD, so I can't say much, but the wulin depicted in Book & Sword is just a small faction (mostly Red Flower Society + Qing officials + Uyghurs). But the anti-Qing sentiment of Wulin in Book & Sword really isn't that much more overwhelming than the Anti-Liao/Anti-Jin/Anti-Mongol sentiments displayed in previous dynasties. It's just that the other novels (LOCH, ROCH, HSDS, DGSD) have more sideplots to the story that doesn't involve government politics, but a significant chunck of wulin is still dedicated to anti-non-han-invaders. Ie. in DGSD, the major plot revolves around XF's Khitan roots and meetings were held to specifically address the issue. ROCH held a "hero's meeting"--for the purpose to being anti-Mongol. HSDS folks fought around for the dragon sabre, which carried 9 yin, designed for the purpose of hoping something will use it to defeat the Mongols.
    Last edited by S Beaver; 04-06-12 at 02:22 AM.
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    Senior Member IPlayWow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yuet Thi View Post
    That is one of the reason why I dislike stories set in the Qing Dynasty. It just doesn't have that 'wuxia' feeling to it. Everything seems so modern and like you said, there's really no more sects besides the most powerful ones.


    I only like the gathering of the heaven and earth society to bring down the qing leaders in both flying fox and duke of mount deer.

    Seem like people were only after Treasure Island in both duke of mount deer and flying fox. there was treasures hidden somewhere.

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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    Linked Cities/A Deadly Secret never did feel like a Qing story to me. The feel was very much in the Ming or Song dynasty kind of wulin. Many of us felt that it was a Ming dynasty story despite the art in the storybook, so much that Jin Yong had to clarify and explicitly state that it was set in the Qing. That kind of removed a lot of the romance of the setting for me, but plot-wise it still doesn't feel like the Qing.

    Flying Fox doesn't really involve the government much, but the main plot hinges upon political changes, and there were quite a few references to the government, with a few subplots set there. Fu Kangan also makes an appearance in the novel.

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    Based on TV serials, Linked Cities/A Deadly Secret doesn't look like the story takes place in Qing Dynasty.

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    They were replaced by the 反清復明 organizations. Wulin united against the Qing.

    Alternatively, the Qing may have broken up/quashed Wulin because they saw them as a competing source of authority.
    Last edited by Dirt; 11-06-15 at 01:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt View Post
    They were replaced by the 反清復明 organizations. Wulin united against the Qing.

    Alternatively, the Qing may have broken up/quashed Wulin because they saw them as a competing source of authority.
    Other foreign invaders from the past (Khitans, Jins, Mongols, etc.) tried, but never succeeded in achieving that goal. I wonder what the Qing did differently that enabled them to (mostly) succeed where their predecessors had all failed.

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    I feel that the premise of this thread is a bit off. It seems to be taking two ideas: that there wasn't much concern for a Wulin Leader, and that the prestige of the martial arts schools was diminshed in the Qing-era novels. These two concepts are largely separate, and I'd say that they're not correct.

    Not counting the short stories, the list of the late-Ming to Qing novels are: Sword Stained with Royal Blood, the Deer and the Cauldron, the Book and the Sword, the Young Flying Fox, and the Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain. Of these, there are plots about the leader of Wulin, in one form or another, in every single one of them except for the Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain. The reason why Wulin is interested in looking for a leader is usually to tackle some sort of overpowering threat, and this threat during this period was usually the government.

    The concept of martial arts prestige is also a pretty popular topic in these stories. It forms the main plot in the Young Flying Fox, and it's the whole reason why Miao Renfeng called himself the greatest martial artist. The reason why the idea that the Qing-era stories lack this story element is probably because these novels are less popular or, in the case of the Deer and the Cauldron, overshadowed by other features.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Other foreign invaders from the past (Khitans, Jins, Mongols, etc.) tried, but never succeeded in achieving that goal. I wonder what the Qing did differently that enabled them to (mostly) succeed where their predecessors had all failed.
    The difference is that Song China was still an extremely powerful entity, so none of their rivals other than the Mongols were able to overcome them. The Yuan dynasty was always doomed to fail because they always saw themselves as an occupying force, and they were weakened by civil war. What the Qing did was to try to portray themselves as a Chinese dynasty and to assimilate with the general populace as much as possible. By the end of the 17th century there were more Manchus living in China proper (mostly around the Beijing area) than in Manchuria. And even then they didn't entirely succeed - they just lasted somewhat longer than the other foreign dynasties. And one of the most likely reasons for their longevity was that their early rulers Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong were all extraordinarily capable men.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Other foreign invaders from the past (Khitans, Jins, Mongols, etc.) tried, but never succeeded in achieving that goal. I wonder what the Qing did differently that enabled them to (mostly) succeed where their predecessors had all failed.
    The success was temporary. The Qing Dynasty failed miserably in 1911.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToastedRossi View Post
    The difference is that Song China was still an extremely powerful entity, so none of their rivals other than the Mongols were able to overcome them. The Yuan dynasty was always doomed to fail because they always saw themselves as an occupying force, and they were weakened by civil war. What the Qing did was to try to portray themselves as a Chinese dynasty and to assimilate with the general populace as much as possible. By the end of the 17th century there were more Manchus living in China proper (mostly around the Beijing area) than in Manchuria. And even then they didn't entirely succeed - they just lasted somewhat longer than the other foreign dynasties. And one of the most likely reasons for their longevity was that their early rulers Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong were all extraordinarily capable men.
    Yeah, they failed miserably. It would be better off for them without the invasion of the Ming Dynasty. If the did not invade, they would still have their own country called Manchuria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToastedRossi View Post
    Not counting the short stories, the list of the late-Ming to Qing novels are: Sword Stained with Royal Blood, the Deer and the Cauldron, the Book and the Sword, the Young Flying Fox, and the Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain. Of these, there are plots about the leader of Wulin, in one form or another, in every single one of them except for the Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain. The reason why Wulin is interested in looking for a leader is usually to tackle some sort of overpowering threat, and this threat during this period was usually the government.

    The concept of martial arts prestige is also a pretty popular topic in these stories. It forms the main plot in the Young Flying Fox, and it's the whole reason why Miao Renfeng called himself the greatest martial artist. The reason why the idea that the Qing-era stories lack this story element is probably because these novels are less popular or, in the case of the Deer and the Cauldron, overshadowed by other features.
    These are also earlier novels in Jin Yong's career. In the timeline of wuxia literature, the idea of the wulin as a kind of confederacy with multiple martial arts schools coming together and appointing a leader (武林盟主) is something Wolong Sheng 臥龍生 invented in 1958 with his novel 飛燕驚龍 (Flying Swallow Startles the Dragon), so this concept did not exist yet when, say, Book and Sword or Sword Stained With Royal Blood or LOCH were written. 武林盟主 appears in ROCH, which came out a year after Flying Swallow, and Jin Yong did not use the concept of the wulin as a tightly-knit community until Smiling Proud Wanderer in 1967. So the wulin, although it existed in all of Jin Yong's novels, was not the focal point of his work, for the most part.

    Along with that, those earlier novels are more historical than his later work, generally. So the focus was more on blending history with martial arts, rather than focusing on wulin-centered drama, like most wuxia novels (most wuxia novels don't have any particular historical background, beyond maybe placing the story in a given dynasty).

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    These are also earlier novels in Jin Yong's career. In the timeline of wuxia literature, the idea of the wulin as a kind of confederacy with multiple martial arts schools coming together and appointing a leader (武林盟主) is something Wolong Sheng 臥龍生 invented in 1958 with his novel 飛燕驚龍 (Flying Swallow Startles the Dragon), so this concept did not exist yet when, say, Book and Sword or Sword Stained With Royal Blood or LOCH were written. 武林盟主 appears in ROCH, which came out a year after Flying Swallow, and Jin Yong did not use the concept of the wulin as a tightly-knit community until Smiling Proud Wanderer in 1967. So the wulin, although it existed in all of Jin Yong's novels, was not the focal point of his work, for the most part.

    Along with that, those earlier novels are more historical than his later work, generally. So the focus was more on blending history with martial arts, rather than focusing on wulin-centered drama, like most wuxia novels (most wuxia novels don't have any particular historical background, beyond maybe placing the story in a given dynasty).

    Yeah, I love the term 武林盟主. Most of Jin Yong novels didn't mention about 武林盟主. 武林盟主 is more like Gulong thing and his 武林盟主 doesn't necessarily have to be the most powerful fighter either. 武林盟主 are mostly fake gentlemen. I checked your web many times and there is no update on your novel. Your novel is very interesting so far. However, I think non-wuxia fans would have problem understand the meaning of RIVERS AND LAKES

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The success was temporary. The Qing Dynasty failed miserably in 1911.
    Han Dynasty, 206 BCE - 220 CE (426 years)

    Tang Dynasty, 618 CE - 907 CE (289 years)

    Sung Dynasty, 960 CE - 1279 CE (319 years)

    Ming Dynasty, 1368 CE - 1644 CE (276 years)

    Qing Dynasty, 1644 CE - 1911 CE (267 years)

    Very "temporary."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The success was temporary. The Qing Dynasty failed miserably in 1911.
    Other dynasties like Han, Tang, Song and Ming sucesses also temporary and they also failed miserably.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace High View Post
    Other dynasties like Han, Tang, Song and Ming sucesses also temporary and they also failed miserably.
    Yes. They did. The problem with dynasty is that they won't last. Eventually, the dynasty will end up with a few useless emperors in a row that will lead it to collapse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    These are also earlier novels in Jin Yong's career. In the timeline of wuxia literature, the idea of the wulin as a kind of confederacy with multiple martial arts schools coming together and appointing a leader (武林盟主) is something Wolong Sheng 臥龍生 invented in 1958 with his novel 飛燕驚龍 (Flying Swallow Startles the Dragon), so this concept did not exist yet when, say, Book and Sword or Sword Stained With Royal Blood or LOCH were written. 武林盟主 appears in ROCH, which came out a year after Flying Swallow, and Jin Yong did not use the concept of the wulin as a tightly-knit community until Smiling Proud Wanderer in 1967. So the wulin, although it existed in all of Jin Yong's novels, was not the focal point of his work, for the most part.

    Along with that, those earlier novels are more historical than his later work, generally. So the focus was more on blending history with martial arts, rather than focusing on wulin-centered drama, like most wuxia novels (most wuxia novels don't have any particular historical background, beyond maybe placing the story in a given dynasty).
    WOW I had never thought about this, thank you for pointing it out.

    Flying Swallow Startles the Dragon...are you able to give a brief storyline of this novel? I've only recently learned about Wolong Sheng and would like to try reading some of his work. If you have the title in vietnamese would be helpful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linda View Post
    WOW I had never thought about this, thank you for pointing it out.

    Flying Swallow Startles the Dragon...are you able to give a brief storyline of this novel? I've only recently learned about Wolong Sheng and would like to try reading some of his work. If you have the title in vietnamese would be helpful.
    Is it this: Phi Yến Kinh Long? I don't know Vietnamese, but that's what I found searching. Chinese is 飛燕驚龍 (Fei Yan Jing Long)

    An expelled disciple of the Kunlun Sect is being chased by two men. He is killed just as he reaches the temple where this Daoist (and martial arts expert) lives. The disciple tells the Daoist he has this map to a secret martial arts manual on him before he dies. The Daoist fights off the two pursuers and retrieves the map from the disciple's corpse. During this time our main character, Yang Menghuan, the Daoist's student, is there, along with Shen Xialin, one of the main girl characters, and martial sister to yang Menghuan. This begins the quest to find the martial arts manual. Every sect in the wulin gets involved, and there is a lot of deceit and trickery and fighting among the various sects within the wulin. Three different girls fall in love with Yang Menghuan. This is the first wuxia novel to feature the plot of all the schools in the wulin vying for a martial arts manual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Yes. They did. The problem with dynasty is that they won't last. Eventually, the dynasty will end up with a few useless emperors in a row that will lead it to collapse.
    This pertains to all forms of governments, including democratic republics that go bad.

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