Born in 1500 in Kiangsu Province; died in 1582. Chinese writer.
Wu’s satirical fantasy A Journey to the West, also translated as Monkey (1592; Russian translation, vols. 1–4, 1959), was based on a folk tale about the journey to India of the monk Hsüan-Tsang and his miraculous helpers. The author castigates the iniquity of rulers and the extortion practiced by officials, while upholding the Buddhist concept of human equality. The novel’s fantastic situations, which had evident analogues in the real world, disguised the book’s accusatory intent. Although the novel is imbued with Buddhist ideas, the figure of the “righteous man” Hsüan-Tsang is dry and static. The more vivid figures of the king of the monkeys, the magician Sun Wu-k’ung, and the pious hog Chu Pa-chieh (who provides the comic element) were well known to everyone in China. The themes of Wu’s novel were used repeatedly in the traditional theater, in the popular lubok prints, or illustrated broadsides, and in the narrative song genre.
REFERENCESVoprosy kitaiskoi filologii. Moscow, 1963. Pages 95–113.
Fishman, O. L. Kitaiskii satiricheskii roman. Moscow, 1966. Pages 41–49.
I. S. LISEVICH