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This web site is dedicated to the preservation of the spirit of Tang poetry.

Li Bai and Du Fu

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Read poems by the greatest masters of Tang poetry translated by Lan Hua

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The Adventures of Monkey King

Have you ever heard of the Adventures of Monkey King? A great classic now available in a new translation from Lan Hua

The Gan Yu

Chen Zi'ang is one of the early masters of Tang poetry. Now you can read some of his poems translated for the first time into English by Lan Hua

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The Adventures of Monkey King

The monk XuanzangThe Tang Spirit, as we understand it, represents the flowering of classical Chinese civilization, from it’s earliest expression in the Book of Songs (which was complied more than 2,000 years ago) as it evolved and reached a pinnacle during the Tang Dynasty (from 618 to 907 AD) and then as it continued to develop in subsequent dynasties down to the pre-modern period in Chinese history. So the Tang Spirit Network does not confine itself to the literature and art that was actually composed during the Tang Dynasty. Rather, we hope to provide you with a look at a broader range of great Chinese literature, written before, during and after the Tang period.

 One of our favorite books, which dates to the late sixteenth century, is Journey to the West by Wu Cheng En. Generally considered to be one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature, the book is an account of the pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang – a real historical figure of the early 7th century – who journeyed across the silk route to obtain Buddhist scriptures in India. The book’s style is utterly unique, combining prose and poetry; it’s an amalgam of traditional folk tales and historical materials dating back to the Tang Dynasty, combined with an almost modern sensibility. To us, not only does this book embody the Tang Spirit but it also stands as one of the great works of world literature, still relatively unknown to western readers.

Lan Hua has recently completed a translation of the first seven chapters of Journey to the West, which comprises an epic unto itself known as The Adventures of Monkey King. The first chapter of Lan Hua's translation has recently been published online by the web journal in Translation and further chapters will be forthcoming shortly.

Click here to read the first chapter of Lan Hua's translation of the Adventures of Monkey King

Book I

I sing of Monkey King
who from a rock outcropping
standing forth for
ten thousand kalpas before
the beginning of time
in a place near
the Dragon Gods/ home
was given shape
through unceasing attack
of wind and rain
and twenty four times
by lightening bolts
ripped and blasted
until finally primed
for giving birth via
that certain stone egg
which cracked open
and first presented
on the world stage
that most storied Stone Ape

Click here to read the first chapter of Lan Hua's translation of the Adventures of Monkey King

Monkey King