ASIAN 362 - The Travels of the Monkey King in China and Abroad
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The Monkey King gets better and better known throughout the world as new versions of his story continue to appear. The full story of how he was born from a stone, rebelled against Heaven, helped the Tang Monk bring true Buddhist scriptures to China, becomes enlightened and is proclaimed a buddha was first told in the famous 16th century novel, The Journey to the West. In that novel the first seven chapters are entirely given over to the story of his birth and acquisition of miraculous powers and weapons. In the novel, even after he becomes the disciple of the Tang Monk he remains the center of attention. He went on to become a star of stage and screen. Although there has been a tendency, especially recently, to think of the story of the Monkey King as something that primarily appeals to children, the deeper meanings of his story have never been totally forgotten. In this class, besides studying The Journey to the West and its translation and interpretation over the years, we will look at both the antecedents and sequels of the novel, other stories of extraordinary monkeys in China and elsewhere, versions of the story for a variety of traditional Chinese performing arts, as well as representations of The Monkey King in modern media such as newspaper serials, animated films, and TV miniseries, including examples produced for non-Chinese audiences. We will try to better understand why the image of The Monkey King has been so influential in both China and abroad.

Course Requirements:

Short pre-class submissions, two short papers, participation in a presentation and in a small group enactment of an episode of the novel, and class participation

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates interested in China, in religion, traditional Chinese fiction, and modern adaptations of traditional material.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly with emphasis on class discussion and participation

ASIAN 362 - The Travels of the Monkey King in China and Abroad
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Paper version of the Monkey and the Monk better than electronic one. Request to put copy on reserve has been made.
ISBN: 9780810120921
Journey to the west : a play, Author: Mary Zimmerman ; foreword by Anthony C. Yu., Publisher: Northwestern University Press 2011
ISBN: 0892641428
The tower of myriad mirrors : a supplement to Journey to the West, Author: by Tung Yueh ; translated from the Chinese by Shuen-fu Lin and Larry J. Schulz., Publisher: Center for Chinese Studies, the University of Michigan 2nd ed. 2000
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Anthony C. Yu, tr., The Monkey and the Monk: An Abridgment of the Journey to the West. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Need paper (ISBN 9780226971568) and not electronic version
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