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Jin Yong novels


Ian_Lee
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Jin Yong's novels have gained popularity over the years in Mainland and Taiwan. But over time I gradually dislike it. Here are the reasons:

(1) Jin Yong kept revising his writing. And I heard that he just tried to rewrite some again. This seems to be his 4th revised version. Many interesting figures in the original version have disappeared.

(2) Maybe Jin Yong wants to upgrade his writing and now prints his novels with fancy papers and nice covers which make them look like physics text book rather than Kung Fu novels.

But where and when did we usually read Jin Yong's books in High School years?

For me it was the stuff for killing time in toilet, and a good read under the mattress with flashlight during bedtime or a lesiure read in the boring chemistry class.

But since they are so bulky now, how can the readers hold them for long time or hide/read them without others noticing?

I think the 8-pages 1 Chapter version that was sold in the '60s for 30 cents was the best edition.

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  • 1 year later...
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Okay, all the Jin Yong fans, the long awaited new versions of Jin's rewritten novels are finallly coming out during the Chinese New Year holiday:

http://news.chinatimes.com/Chinatimes/Moment/newfocus-index/0,3687,940128027+94012804+0+215825,00.html

It seems that the greatest change is in 倚天屠龍記

張無忌 may marry 3 of the 4 girls he fell in love.

The current version is that he married two girls. The older early'70 version that I read was he married only one girl.

But did Jin Yong really think that polygamy is fun?

However, such arrangement conforms more closely to the social standard practised at that time. Anyway, it seems Jin turns his martial art novels gradually into love stories :clap

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Why the character of 張無忌 is interesting is that he is the No. 1 in the martial arts world, an excellent doctor, young and good looking, and could snatch the throne if he chooses to (actually he is not cunning enough), but yet he is notoriously undecisive in dealing with his love life. Four girls and he doesn't know how to choose!! At the end there are only two left (the other two have left him) and still he can't choose (oh but we all know that he loves the Mongolian princess more :wink: ).

Margaret Ng (吳靄儀) says basically he is a doctor and has too kind a heart, and his personality prevents him from being great, despite all his capabilities.

And who cares about the new versions? I am quite contended with the old versions with all their faults.

Here's what Margaret Ng says -

金庸在《倚天》的后记说,张无忌不是政治领袖材料,因为他不能克制自己,对敌人残忍,不能当机立断,也没有权力欲,但是,张无忌随和良善,可以与他成为好朋友。

张无忌最大的特色是他的良善心肠。他并不很重视分辨是非善恶,也可说是不大重视公正的赏善罚恶,而是习惯性的得饶人处且饶人,他是个感性的人,很容易受人感动,要威胁他做什么未必成功,但恳求他什么,他多半会答应,就算自己吃亏,也不计较。

他的良善心肠,自小已看得出来。谢逊在冰火岛上谈往事,说到以七伤拳打空见神僧,十三拳打了十拳,小无忌插口说:“义父,下面还有三拳,你就不要打了罢,这老和尚为人很好,你打伤了他,心中过意不去。倘若伤了自己,那也不好。”

他头十年的生命,在父母及义父慈爱保护之下度过,后来的一连串苦难,始终没有改变他对别人的信任和善心。他父母在一日内相继自杀而死,殷素素临死时叮嘱他记着上武当山逼死他父母的各门各派中的人,慢慢报仇,他记是记住了这些人,但最后没有向他们之中任何一人报仇。金庸的男主角之中,似乎只有张无忌从来没有以为什么人报仇为目的。

另一方面,张无忌记恩,周芷若在舟中喂饭之恩,他一生都没有忘记,后来她两番累他几乎丧命,他也一点不放在心上。记起她时,总想到她的恩情,不想她负他之处。

他是个温情的人,对父母义父的爱、对张三丰的爱、对武当六侠的爱时时洋溢在胸中,甚至对殷离感到亲近,对殷野王、殷天正感到深切亲情。他保护杨不悔万里寻父,绝不是基于“助人为快乐之本”的原则,而是出乎自然的爱护弱小。在光明顶秘道之中,他以自身为小昭挡灾,小昭感动得说不出话来,但是于张无忌而言,这却是最自然不过:“你是个小姑娘,我自是要护着你些儿。”

在情爱事上,张无忌也是随和被动、容易受感动、容易受人摆布。他以爱还爱,周芷若爱他,他对她爱怜备至;赵敏对他迷恋,为他抛弃荣华。不顾生命,他也自然“刻骨铭心”地爱她了。她们两个都是美人,金庸在书中三番四次刻画她们白雪红玫之美,一加上良辰美景。花前月下,张无忌的反应便是“心中一荡”、意乱情迷了。

张无忌不能成为政治领袖,随和被动而缺乏野心是一个重要原因。另一个重要原因便是他毫无主见,亦心无城府,容易信人。他之所以成为明教教主,全是凑巧,后来中朱元璋之计退出,亦没有什么可惜。他根本没有多大的领袖指挥才能,更不懂谋略,就算当时没有中计,也不是长久的教主材料。他甚至没有什么志愿理想,他对世界看法单纯,最接近理想志愿的,只是空泛地希望人人忘记仇恨,结成朋友,快快乐乐地过日子。因此,他最适合做医生。他在蝶谷学医,后来运用医术救人的情节,是他表现得最主动的地方,也是他最令人欣赏的时候。武功在他是次要,医术才是最主要的。

我始终不大喜欢张无忌,真正原因可能只是他的个性与我恰好相反。我对张无忌这个人物颇有偏见。但我仍认为这样的人,有好处也有坏处,好处是他们心地良善,绝不苛刻,也绝不自以为是,道貌岸然;坏处是他们容易被人利用,他们往往明知被人利用而甘心被人利用,虽然这是他们的宽大为怀,但这也令到爱护他们的人感到不快,因为对于对他好与对他不好的人都一样好,其实就是对于对他好的人不公平了,这种心态或许可称为小心眼,但也是人之常情。

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In-lab:

I guess the reasons why Jin Yong is able to rewrite his works while others cannot because:

(1) Jin lives longer than most other writers;

(2) Jin is filthy rich (which is quite against the norm that Chinese writers are usually poor);

(3) Jin tries to rewrite hsi work in a more politically correct way to suit most Chinese readers (i.e. His early works in late 1950s adopted a Marxist view which depicted bandit Li ZhiCheng as a revolutionary hero);

(4) Since most of the changes are focused on man-woman relationship, I guess Jin has different perspective on love when he grows older;

and

(5) Since almost everyone has read his books, the only way to attract readers to read them again is to make drastic changes (at least I may buy the new versions even though I have read them each at least 3 or 4 times).

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  • 10 months later...
(5) Since almost everyone has read his books, the only way to attract readers to read them again is to make drastic changes (at least I may buy the new versions even though I have read them each at least 3 or 4 times).
He could also write new ones. That would be a better use of his time, imho.
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  • 11 years later...

(Brushing off the dust on this old topic)

 

Looks like the English translation of Jin Yong's "Condor Trilogy"  is soon to be published - or should I better say 'start being published'. This article has some interesting information and good links. 

The "Lord of the Rings" of Chinese literature is finally being translated into English

 

There are several other threads in this Forum mentioning Jin Yong (Louis Cha), here are a couple 

Wuxia (aka martial art or kungfu) novels by Louis Cha

Best kung fu novel ever?

 


 

 

 

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