Journey (Monkey’s Tale)
Journey (Monkey’s Tale) is a bilingual adaptation of the 16th century Ming Dynasty novel 西遊記(西游记，Journey to the West) , by Wu Cheng’en. Considered one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature, this book is also one of the oldest (and longest!) fantasy novels still being read today. It’s been translated into countless languages, and has been adapted in many forms.
If this story has been adapted so many times, why this project? While the tale has several excellent translations into English (Anthony C. Yu's for instance), these literary translations are mostly aimed towards adults and can be hard to parse. As for children’s adaptations: most of the English books I’ve found are extremely abridged versions of individual stories - none come close to capturing the epic magic that was the Journey: I grew up hearing stories of the mischievous and powerful Sun Wukong a Monkey King who tricked and defeated monstrous opponents and heavenly lords. But when I tried to share my enthusiasm with my friends, words fell short. I didn’t have the language as a child to describe this in English, and my friends didn’t have the culture context to begin to understand the story either. I believe this is a tremendous story that transcended both cultural as well as time boundaries - a story that can build language (as well as cultural) bridges. This adaptation is an attempt to do so!
I’ve already created a pilot episode (which you can peek at at the very bottom of this page). In 2019, however, Panda and I will be doing a Season of Chinese Myths and Legends. This season, we are making our way through well known tales (and some lesser known stories) of Chinese mythology. Join us as we dive into the seas of dragon kings and explores Jade palaces in the sky… and make our way towards the longer story of Journey! Watch Season 1 on YouTube (one new episode a week).