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Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1 Paperback – April 15, 2002


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Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1 + Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 2 + The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh: The Classic Chinese Novel (Tuttle Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the greatest and best-loved works of popular literature." —Dictionary of Oriental Literatures

About the Author

Lo Kuan-chung (c.1330-c.1400) was a novelist and dramatist who played an important role in the development of Chinese popular fiction.
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Product Details

  • Series: Tuttle Classics (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 708 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (April 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804834679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804834674
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Johnson on January 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
The story is truly a classic and the translation is pretty good. However, the actual product is pretty sloppy. Volume one was less problematic than volume two, but both had a high number of instances. The main problem is that letters that are similar in shape, such as b and d, p and g, etc. get switched, almost once a page. Also, the names weren't proofread very well, as apostrophes get pretty regularly left out. In a translation system where an apostrophe is the only difference between the names to two characters or places, this becomes a source of confusion. Also, entire words are left out pretty regularly. I wonder if any highly fluent English speakers actually got to proofread this, because most of these errors are so obvious. These errors aren't so bad that it is unreadable, but they really take a person out of the scene while the confusion is dispelled.
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116 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Jenkins on September 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
I love the Three Kingdoms. However, having read Brewitt-Taylors masterful exposition, this translation seems lacking, in my opinion.

First, I must confess, I hate the modern Pinyin system of romanization. I cannot abide in a system where letters do not have the proper values. I mean, an entire generation of Americans (and God help the ignorant French!) will pronounce names like Cao Cao as "Cow Cow", or the Qin dynasty as the "Kwin" dynasty. The Brewitt-Taylor translation uses the old Wade system, and while it can be hard on the eyes, the reader gets a sense of at least the rough pronunciation (Cao Cao is rendered Ts'ao Ts'ao, Qin is rendered Ch'in, etc).

Also, Brewitt-Taylors translation is nice to listen to. "Empires wax and wane, states cleave asunder and coalesce"; the sound itself is beautiful, and yet still renders the sense clearly. The Roberts translation certainly succeeds in the latter, but the beauty is lost. However, Brewitt-Taylor requires a very great vocabulary, whereas Roberts is more tame in this regards. Still, this was a book for scholars, and the translation should at least reflect that.

Again, if you have no familiarization with the events of this tale, the complete rainstorm of names is daunting indeed. Always keep in mind the three separate forces (Cao Cao of Wei, Liu Bei of Shu and the Sun family of Wu) as well as a few of the other players (Zhang Jiao of the Yellow Scarves, Dong Zhuo, Lu Bu, Yuan Shao. Liu Biao and Liu Zhang) and you'll do fine. The book itself, in my opinion, is the greatest book ever told, succeeding in being at once a work of strategy, psychology, government, warfare, and human emotion, and there is nothing like it in the lexicon of Western literature. Enjoy!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By susumu-5 on June 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Romance of Three Kingdoms is a part of East Asian culture. It overtook the heart of both Chinese and Japanese as well as people in Southeastern Asia. In Japan even younger generation who rarely read literature enjoy the story in the form of either comic books or in popular PC games. In China many of the Chinese Opera plays come from the part of this story. Every Chinatown around the world has one or some Guandi(Kuan Ti) Temples such as those in Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama. The story is based on the history of ancient China around late 2nd century to late 3rd century when the Chinese continent was divided by three strong kingdoms, Wei(Gui in Japanese),Wu(GO in Japanese) and Shu(SHOKU in Japanese).

Part of the popularity of three kingdoms in Japan must be credited for Eiji Yoshikawa, the author of Musashi, focusing more on the story of Liu Bei(Shu emperor),Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Zhuge Liang. Comic book adaptation by Mitsuteru Yokoyama who is best known by the author of Iron Man(Tetsujin)#28Tetsujin 28: The Complete Set paved the way for current three kingdom boom in Japanese pop culture in general. Liu Bei, an heir of Han Dynasty ruling clan, is a humane leader supported by Guan Yu, deft both in brain and might maybe eastern version of Knight, Zhang Fei,short tempered but really strong warrior, and Zhuge Liang the master of strategy.

Rivaling Lie Bei is another giant Cao Cao outstanding ruler and historically known as one of the finest compilers of Sun Tzu's Art of War.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Maxwell on May 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review doesn't really concern the story - Romance of the Three Kingdoms is justly a classic piece of literature, and it'd be slightly ridiculous to review the story itself on an Amazon review. It's amazing, and exciting, and definitely read it if you can.

What I will review - and what I have significant problems with - is the Tuttle edition for Kindle. I can't really speak on the printed edition, but a lot of my criticisms, I suspect, will apply.

Firstly, there are a ton of typos. I'm averaging one per page now. Things like:

"Today her son is on the throne and all the officials are her friends/ and her influence is enormous."

It seems petty, and normally I'd ignore it, but it gets on your nerves after a while.

The fact that there are so many of these errors speaks to a lack of proper editing, I think, which leads to my next point: a lot of the prose is pretty bad, stylistically. It varies from place to place, but it's at best annoying and at worst a serious impediment. More than once I've had to stop and ask myself: "who is the subject of this sentence?" or even "who is the direct object?" which takes me out of the action while I have to parce the previous paragraph and see who the translator is talking about.

The register of the translation changes as well - one second a character might be speaking in a very formal, periphrastic "bureaucratese" and then end the sentence with something jarringly vernacular. It seems like a minor issue, but things like that can confuse characterization and are just generally poor usage. More generally, the dialogue is stilted and artificial: "The originator of the plan to injure your brother was Chien Shih." Stylistically, it's an awkward sentence - why phrase it like that?
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Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1
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