Which version of Journey to the West should I buy?
July 29, 2008 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Which version of Journey to the West should I buy? After seeing Hewlett's production design for Monkey I want to dip into the source material. Digging around I see a fair number of translations but the reviews don't really offer much description beyond "great read." I'm looking for an adaptation/translation that captures most of the original epic for an adult reader, without being an attempt at scholarly word-for-word translation. Ideally, I'd like a dead-tree format that I can take to the coffehouse.
posted by KirkJobSluder to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recently finished Anthony C. Yu's four volume translation and would recommend it highly. Each volume is roughly the size of your average paperback and could be comfortably read at a coffeehouse.
posted by Izner Myletze at 4:14 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding the Yu version. It is the definitive English-language edition.
posted by TheRaven at 4:38 PM on July 29, 2008

I haven't read the Yu translation, but will recommend Arthur Waley's translation. They guy was one of the West's foremost Sinologists, and has an extensive history of translations.

For further angles on The Journey to the West, you should get your hands on the complete DVD collection of the cult Japanese adaptation, Monkey, and see if you can also find the jokey interpretation in Asiapac comics. (sorry, no time to google these two)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:15 PM on July 29, 2008

Seconding Waley's translation - I found it very approachable.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:07 AM on July 30, 2008

Please note that Arthur Waley's translation is abridged (not sure if this matters to you). It translates 30 of the 100 chapters.
posted by Izner Myletze at 3:33 PM on July 30, 2008

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