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Wu Cheng'en (Chinese: 吳承恩; c. 1500–1582) was a Chinese novelist and poet of the Ming Dynasty, and is considered by many to be the author of Journey to the West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.
- I was very fond of strange stories when I was a child. In my village-school days, I used to buy stealthily the popular novels and historical recitals. Fearing that my father and my teacher might punish me for this and rob me of these treasures, I carefully hid them in secret places where I could enjoy them unmolested. As I grew older, my love for strange stories became even stronger, and I learned of things stranger than what I had read in my childhood. When I was in my thirties my memory was full of these stories accumulated through years of eager seeking. [...] I have sometimes laughingly said to myself that it is not I who have found these ghosts and monsters, but they, the monstrosities themselves, which have found me!
Journey to the West [Xiyouji] (1592)
- There was a rock that since the creation of the world had been worked upon by the pure essences of Heaven and the fine savours of Earth, the vigour of sunshine and the grace of moonlight, till at last it became magically pregnant and one day split open, giving birth to a stone egg, about as big as a playing ball. Fructified by the wind it developed into a stone monkey, complete with every organ and limb.
- Monkey, chapter 1 (trans. Arthur Waley)
- A monkey's transformed body weds the human mind.
Mind is a monkey—this, the truth profound.
- Commentarial verses in chapter 7
Quotes about Wu
- One of the most skilled descriptive poets in all Chinese literature.
- C. T. Hsia, The Classic Chinese Novel: A Critical Introduction (1968), p. 120
- Encyclopedic article on Wu Cheng'en at Wikipedia