The Historical Novel: "Three Kingdoms" Book Review

The Historical Novel: "Three Kingdoms"
A review of the historical novel "Three Kingdoms" by Luo Guanzhong and its implications on issues of legitimacy for succeeding dynasties.
# 147373 | 1,421 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Mar 27, 2011 in Asian Studies (East Asian Cultures) , History (Asian) , Literature (General)

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This paper reviews the historical novel "Three Kingdoms" by Luo Guanzhong in the context of Chinese literature. The main thesis contents that the central conflict in the Three Kingdoms between Lui Bei and Cao Cao highly influenced Chinese politics of later dynasties. Supporting paragraphs also discuss the concepts of "Mandate of Heaven" and ancestral lineage used by contenders to claim legitimacy of their rule.

From the Paper:

"Historically, the Han dynasty began to fall apart when the court was corrupted by eunuchs during the reign of Emperor Ling, and in response, hundreds of thousands of people joined in rebellion around 184 A.D. Many warlords organized local militias to suppress the rebels, and protect their principalities, and some gradually rose to become major contenders for the imperial title. In those terms, Three Kingdoms sets up for two plausible outcomes for the division of the Han empire after its fall: the usurpation of the throne by Cao Pi, son of Cao Cao, or the restoration of Shu-Han through Liu Xuande and his heir Liu Shan. Early historical texts, such as Records of Three Kingdoms written by Chen Shou, who was once an officer of Shu, and then who served under the Jin favors the claim that the Cao-Wei dynasty was a legitimate successor to the Han. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • De, Bary William Theodore. Sources of East Asian Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
  • De, Crespigny Rafe. The Records of the Three Kingdoms; a Study in the Historiography of San-Kuo Chih. Canberra: Centre of Oriental Studies, Australian National University, 1970.
  • Dreyer, Edward L. Early Ming China: a Political History, 1355-1435. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1982.
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, Anne Walthall, and James B. Palais. "The Three Kingdoms and the Western Jin Dynasty." In Pre-modern East Asia: to 1800: a Cultural, Social, and Political History, 61-63. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2009.
  • Luo, Guanzhong. Three Kingdoms. Translated by Moss Roberts. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2004.

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