Adaptation and Representation of a Chinese Epic
- PUBLISHED: April 2018
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / China, Literary Studies, Asian American Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 232 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 26 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295743196
Able to shape-shift and ride the clouds, wielding a magic cudgel and playing tricks, Sun Wukong (aka Monkey or the Monkey King) first attained superstar status as the protagonist of the sixteenth-century novel Journey to the West (Xiyou ji) and lives on in literature and popular culture internationally. In this far-ranging study Hongmei Sun discusses the thousand-year evolution of this figure in imperial China and multimedia adaptations in Republican, Maoist, and post-socialist China and the United States, including the film Princess Iron Fan (1941), Maoist revolutionary operas, online creative writings influenced by Hong Kong film A Chinese Odyssey (1995), and Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese.
At the intersection of Chinese studies, Asian American studies, film studies, and translation and adaptation studies, Transforming Monkey provides a renewed understanding of the Monkey King character as a rebel and trickster, and demonstrates his impact on the Chinese self-conception of national identity as he travels through time and across borders.
Authors & Contributors
Hongmei Sun is assistant professor of modern and classical languages at George Mason University.
Sun’s well-executed book deserves the attention not only of the fans of the Monkey King, but also of those interested in the broad questions of the techniques, the status, and the implications of adaptation, rewriting, and representation more generally.- Journal of Asian Studies
A delightful work of literary history with the advantage of incorporating several media. . . . Sun’s study deploys the Monkey King to bridge the gap between classical and modern/contemporary literature in a way that allows students of traditional Chinese and modern popular literature and media to connect.- China Review International: A Journal of Reviews of Scholarly Literature in Chinese Studies
The first monograph in English to focus entirely on adaptations of the Journey to the West narrative. Its analysis is quite compelling.- Carlos Rojas, coeditor of Ghost Protocol: Development and Displacement in Global China
Fun, sophisticated, insightful, Hongmei Sun’s exploration of contemporary lives of the Monkey King takes us on a journey across multiple borders, ultimately to a place within ourselves, where the multivalent primate lurks.- Carma Hinton, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Visual Culture and Chinese Studie, George Mason University
A brilliant and entertaining revisioning of Sun Wukong. Transforming Monkey will be of use to readers interested in the performance of traditional literature, the formation of modern Chinese culture and media, and, simply to fans of Monkey.- Andrew Schonebaum, author of Novel Medicine: Healing, Literature, and Popular Knowledge in Early Modern China
Travelling across vast time and space, Sun’s book is as filled with transformation as its subject matter, the legendary Monkey King—shape-shifter, trickster, rebel, and demigod.- Ning Ma, author of The Age of Silver: The Rise of the Novel East and West