Alexander Pope

(no subject)



This was my online journal until early 2018, when I pretty much moved everything over to Dreamwidth. I'm still crossposting my journal entries here, for now, but comments are closed on new entries, so if you want to add me as a friend, comment over on DW, not here!
Duke of Mount Deer

The Deer and the Cauldron - Louis Cha

A book review, of sorts.

For my first foray into Yuletide this year, I took a bit of a risk: I requested a book that I hadn’t actually managed to read yet. I’d been looking for a copy for more than two years, after falling utterly in love with an old TVB adaptation of the story. But finding a complete copy in English was impossible. My library did have the first volume, but the other two I could only find at online bookstores for outrageously high prices. Finding it in Chinese was easy enough, but it’s set in the 17th century and hence full of archaic and literary language, and besides that, it’s extremely long. (How long? Well, the English version1 spans almost 1,600 pages, and according to Wikipedia, this War and Peace-length translation is “highly abridged.” o_o )

I’m generally a book person, though, or at least a primary-source person, so when I decided to nominate the TV adaptation for Yuletide, I really wanted to include the original novel as well. So I did. And then I sort of panicked about having not actually read it, and went looking for a copy again—and found one!

So I’ve now finally read the whole book. Or the whole “highly abridged” English version of the book, at any rate. And needless to say, I have thoughts. A lot of them are thoughts about how the book measured up to my expectations, based on what I knew from the TVB series. Aaaand a lot of them are also just "slash goggles: on."

In brief, The Deer and the Cauldron traces the adventures of a street-urchin trickster anti-hero, Wai Siu-bou,2 as he (in one reviewer’s words) “traipses all around the countryside avoiding problems and creating even more of them.” Much of the drama stems from his increasingly hopeless efforts to navigate a lot of very contradictory loyalties—in particular, his close friendship with the young Emperor of China, and his simultaneous membership in a secret society whose aim is to overthrow the empire.

The relationship between Wai Siu-bou and the Emperor Hong Hei anchors the rest of the story, and it was what I loved about the TVB series and was hoping to see more of in the novel. And there is more of it in the novel. Actually a lot more. But... also sort of less? I’ll come to that in a bit. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

One thing can be said, though: if you're looking for subtext, the novel is most accommodating. “Several of the officers and courtiers noticed—with surprise, for he was normally so grave and mature in public and never showed any sign of emotion—that Hong Hei’s eyes were red and swollen with weeping. When they saw Wai Siu-bou’s tear-stained face as well, they assumed that he was responsible and wondered of exactly what nature the boy-Emperor’s relationship with his young favorite might be.

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So. I don’t have a good place to end this post, but those are my extremely long-winded thoughts about The Deer and the Cauldron (as relentlessly juxtaposed to the TVB adaptation that induced me to read it). I liked it—I really did, even in spite of the very mediocre translation and other assorted faults. But it does sort of bother me that there are things I still like better about the TV version, because I feel like the original book canon is the “real thing” and deserves according priority.

This is why I always try to read books first. It makes sense to complain about changes made in adaptations, but it’s sort of a problem when you want to complain about the original text having not been more like the way it was later adapted. :P

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[This entry was originally posted at https://grayswandir.dreamwidth.org/285318.html.]
Forbidden

You are dust, and to dust you shall return. (2/100)

All right, finals are underway. Time to get back to this 100 Things business.

We left off when God had just finished putting the heavens and the earth in order, and his prize creation was just about to start making a mess of it all, with the help of a certain irresistible tree.

I’m sure you all basically know how the Eden story goes, but if you haven't actually read it, you might be surprised by how short it is. It’s about a page and a half long (Gen. 2.4-3.24). But I think you’d be hard pressed to find another story that packs quite as much potential significance into such a small space.

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...It would make sense here to talk a bit about Milton and the Christian interpretation of the Eden story as “original sin” and the “fall” of man (I don’t know how I managed to not talk about Milton for almost this whole post), but this is already getting long. Maybe some other time. :P

(I feel like I should be citing sources on this stuff. >_> I'm not going to go to all that trouble, but if there's anything in particular you want a source for, just let me know.)
Science: space

How many gods does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (1/100)

Okay, so. Yeah. I'm actually going to try this. 100 posts -- sometime over the course of the indefinite future -- about Judeo-Christian traditions.

And while I don’t promise to keep to any kind of chronological or thematic order, there’s probably no better place to start than in the beginning.

So here are some thoughts on Collapse )

...I have no idea if I have the stamina for 100, or even, like, three of these, but there you go.

(Also I may possibly be considering signing up for 100 Photos of My Little Ponies Doing Random Things. Or 100 posts about ancient Sumer/Babylon/Akkad/Assyria. Or both. >_>)
Pope in his grotto

Guys.

This? Is awesome.




{Take the 100 Things challenge!}


LJ is really quiet these days, and I know at least for me, a big part of the reason I don't post much these days is because I don't really think people care about most of the stuff I want to post about. But as I said to roh_wyn, I'd much rather see people making lots of LJ posts about things they're passionate about, even if some of them don't especially interest me personally, than a silent LJ-world where everybody is too considerate to post anything at all.

I think this challenge is a great excuse to post about things you love posting about anyway, or things you always wanted to post about but couldn't find a good reason, or whatever. I really hope some of you guys will try it. I'd love to see more posts here! :)

I'm thinking of doing something like 100 Judeo-Christian Traditions (like, textual traditions, mostly Old/New Testament stuff, but probably some apocryphal stuff and folklore traditions too). Either that or 100 Black & White Horror Movie Picspams. XD