A Guide to English Language Sources on the Three Kingdoms

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Re: A Guide to English Language Sources on the Three Kingdom

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:20 pm

I’ll write some more reviews soon for books and journal articles I have, including:

Sun Fin wrote:b) Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD)
c) Early Chinese Religion, Part Two: The Period of Division (220-589 AD)


I have both and I’ve read almost the entirety of the first book and about half of the second. I’ll write some reviews once I’ve finished the first book. :)
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Re: A Guide to English Language Sources on the Three Kingdom

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:48 pm

Thanks Jia! I really appreciate, editing it in now! :D
Interested in the history behind the novel? Find a list of english language Three Kingdom sources here.
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Re: A Guide to English Language Sources on the Three Kingdom

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue May 15, 2018 2:33 pm

The Archlich mentioned a book called Guan Yu: The Religious Afterlife of a Failed Hero on tumblr. This is what he said about it:

It’s mostly about the development of Guan Yu as a mythological/religious figure. The historical section is short, since the real Guan Yu (as the author observes) has very little to do with his religious counterpart. It did have some interesting observations, though.

The one I found most striking is Haar’s comment that Guan Yu’s biography is strangely anecdotal. It reads more like a collection of stories about Guan Yu - mostly his personality and conduct - rather than a straightforward account of his career (especially compared to other biographies). Haar suggests that Chen Shou’s biography is derived from an oral history rather than through actual records.

And that makes a lot of sense. Since Shu didn’t establish an official history bureau, Chen Shou’s primary source for records on Shu’s founders was Zhuge Liang’s personal writings. But Zhuge Liang and Guan Yu didn’t actually have much to do with each other. Zhuge Liang obviously wasn’t present for any events of Guan Yu’s life before 208, and the two parted ways in 213.

The history section was all I read of the book, though. I’m not really interested in the subject overall. But Haar at least demonstrated that he knew what he was talking about. If you’re interested in how the cult of Guan Yu developed, it’s probably a good book.


It came out in 2017, I'm not sure how I missed its publication! At some point I will edit into the front page but I thought that it might interest a few people in the meantime!
Interested in the history behind the novel? Find a list of english language Three Kingdom sources here.
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Re: A Guide to English Language Sources on the Three Kingdom

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Tue May 15, 2018 6:14 pm

Poetry and Politics The Life and Works of Juan Chi, A.D. 210-263 by Donald Holzman is a very interesting and gives some insight into the very turbulent time in Wei in which Ruan Ji rose up, as well as his time as part of the infamous Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. It speaks on immortality, society in Wei, his views on... everything, Mysticism, goes over his poetry; almost everything basically.

Highly recommend it for anyone that is interested in Ruan Ji, the Sages or the Wei Dynasty outside of the Imperial line and Sima.
"I take Heaven and Earth to be my dwelling, and my rooms are my coat and pants; so what are you gentlemen doing in my pants?"
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Re: A Guide to English Language Sources on the Three Kingdom

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue May 15, 2018 6:38 pm

Great! Thanks for sharing DaoLun! I’ll add that in too at some point!
Interested in the history behind the novel? Find a list of english language Three Kingdom sources here.
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