Title: Journey to the West (Library of Chinese Classics Series, Chinese-English, 6 tomes)
Author / Editor: Wu Cheng'en, Translated by W.J.F. Henner"
ISBN: 7119024116, 9787119024110
Publisher: Foreign Languages Press
Language: English / Chinese
Date of Publication: 2001
Number of pages: 3376 pages
Dimensions: 24 x 16 cm
Journey to the West (traditional Chinese: 西遊記; simplified Chinese: 西游记; pinyin: Xīyóujì; Wade-Giles: Hsiyu-chi) is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Originally published anonymously in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty, and even though no direct evidence of its authorship survives, it has been ascribed to the scholar Wú Chéng'ēn since the 20th century.
In western countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley. The Waley translation has also been published as Adventures of the Monkey God; and Monkey: [A] Folk Novel of China; and The Adventures of Monkey.
The novel is a fictionalized account of the legends around the Buddhist monk Xuánzàng's pilgrimage to India during the Táng dynasty in order to obtain Buddhist religious texts called sutras. The Bodhisattva Guānyīn, on instruction from the Buddha, gives this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sūn Wùkōng, Zhū Bājiè and Shā Wùjìng — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuánzàng's horse mount. These four characters have agreed to help Xuánzàng as an atonement for past sins.
Some scholars propose that the book satirises the effete Chinese government at the time. Journey to the West has a strong background in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology and value systems; the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas is still reflective of Chinese folk religious beliefs today.
Part of the novel's enduring popularity comes from the fact that it works on multiple levels: it is a first-rate adventure story, a dispenser of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeying toward India stands for the individual journeying toward enlightenment. Three of the main characters ( Monkey King, Monk Pig and Friar Sand) also appeared in the BBC trailer for the 2008 Olympic Games and was known as " the journey to the east"