Press Release: Outlaws of the Marsh (The Water Margin)
Translated by J. H. Jackson
Introduced by Frances Wood
Illustrations from the Rong Yu Tang edition
‘Stories of bloodthirsty, drunken fighters punching their rivals, concussing tigers and hiding out in marshlands to evade the authorities fill the pages of Outlaws of the Marsh.’
One of the four Great Classics of Chinese Literature, renowned for its incredible cast of characters and the universal theme of rebellion against tyranny. Originally related by oral tradition, Outlaws of the Marsh was first transcribed in the 14th century. From supernatural feats of endurance to tales
of poisoning, witchcraft and cannibalism, the timeless tales of villainy and heroism have engrossed whole generations and still provide inspiration for comic books, films, Peking opera and computer games.
Plague has descended on the people of the peaceful Song Dynasty and the Emperor is desperate to find a cure. Failing to enlist the help of a Taoist master, the Emperor’s envoy accidentally releases 108 demons from their mountain prison. The freed villains gather in the marshes surrounding Liangshan, in Shandong province, and become the outlaws of the story. From their base, they fight to protect the vulnerable and re-establish a peaceful society, becoming heroes of the people in the process. This lavish two-volume edition reproduces the popular 70-chapter version of the text which begins with the release of the demons and culminates with the full assemblage of the 108 heroes at the Liangshan marsh.
Frances Wood, former curator of Chinese Collections at The British Museum, introduces the novel with her fascinating historical perspective and academic insights. The 141 illustrations, taken from the Ming dynasty Rong Yu Tang edition – the finest complete set of images anywhere in the world – appear courtesy of the National Library of China, and are printed at exceptional quality.
Two volumes. Three-quarter bound in blocked Art Silk with a printed cloth front board. Set in Dante. 880 pages in total. Illustrated title pages with 141 black & white woodblock illustrations in total. Ribbon markers. Gilded page tops. Printed cloth slipcase. 11˝ x 7¼˝.
UK £120.00 US $185.00 Can $235.00 Aus $270.00
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