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Creation of the Gods (Library of Chinese Classics: Chinese-English: 4 Volumes) Library Binding – January 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-7800054860 ISBN-10: 7800054861 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Chinese Classics
  • Library Binding: 2145 pages
  • Publisher: Foreign Language Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 7800054861
  • ISBN-13: 978-7800054860
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 4.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,421,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lon Dee on May 24, 2004
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I give this four stars for the work as a whole, but only about two stars for the translation. This four-volume set tells of a true period in Chinese history, but the author has taken incredible liberties with that history. That's OK, though, because it is a work of fiction after all. I encourage all readers to go through the explanation at the beginning of the work to better understand why the book was written, the historical setting during the author's life, and the historical setting during the book's time period.

The main purpose of this book is to show the origins of many of the gods in Chinese Buddhist and Daoist cultures. There is also a political and religious agenda that relates to the author's time period. The main character in the book, Zhang Ziya, is a man that many ancient writings show was probably a real person living during the waning years of the Shang empire. In true history, he was probably a general of the Zhou army that eventually overthrew the Shang empire. In this book, he is portrayed as a great leader, but is also a powerful Daoist who is fated to send many souls to the Terrace of Creation, where he later deifies them as gods of various locations or activities. (Daoism, Buddhism, and other isms, didn't come into being until nearly 500 years after the end of the Shang dynasty.)

The book is Chinese on one page and English on the facing page, so if you're learning Chinese, this is a great tool. But good luck - it's written in an older style of Chinese, akin to Shakespeare or the Bible in Western literature. The Chinese is written in simplified characters, which I was kind of disappointed with, because I learned traditional characters.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Massoluk S on November 3, 2007
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
If you're into Chinese mythology, this is the book to get. If you're not in the first place, tough luck, seek another book, this is a hard read.

Overall, this is a pretty faithful translation, except for the name... This book might have been better if they leave the name of the gods intact rather than translating also, a little footnote of the meaning would have done a better job. Translation of the names makes the book pretty confusing, and it hinders anyone who want further study of the subject...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ceci Neville on January 7, 2010
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Creation of the Gods, vols 1-4, is a Chinese classic that helps Westerners understand traditional Chinese culture. That said, some things could improve the presentation. The quality of printing, for instance. Some pages actually appeared as if produced from a copier that needed toner. One page had a large hole in the paper, a quality control issue.

The translation itself left something to be desired. Swear words used to address immortal beings in the story sounded very insulting to me, the reader. There were countless battles, challenges, and matching of magic skills. But how could an opponent of a goddess call her the b-word? Or an opposing general call a Taoist immortal the other b-word? The translator, whom I assume had to have a depth of academic knowledge in Chinese literature as well as a certain command of formal English, did not need to use such low-level language to express the meaning of the character.

It was, however, an easy read and the action moved the story along. Unfortunately, quality of the translation and the books themselves could learn a lesson from traditional Chinese literature.
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