The Besieged City

The Besieged City Published in English as Fortress Besieged From Intended for learners of Chinese as a second language this is an abridged version of the novel by Qian Zhongshu Maintaining the major plots true to the

  • Title: The Besieged City
  • Author: Qian Zhongshu
  • ISBN: 9787802003903
  • Page: 386
  • Format: Paperback
  • Published in English as Fortress Besieged.From Intended for learners of Chinese as a second language, this is an abridged version of the novel by Qian Zhongshu Maintaining the major plots true to the original, the abridged version of 40,000 words, represents approximately one sixth of the original 230,000 Chinese characters.

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      Posted by:Qian Zhongshu
      Published :2020-01-08T11:16:46+00:00

    About “Qian Zhongshu

    • Qian Zhongshu

      Qian Zhongshu Chinese name November 21, 1910 December 19, 1998 was a Chinese literary scholar and writer, known for his wit and erudition.He is best known for his satirical novel Fortress Besieged His works of non fiction are characterised by their large amount of quotations in both Chinese and Western languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Latin He also played an important role in digitizing Chinese classics late in his life from

    886 thoughts on “The Besieged City

    • "婚姻是被围困的城堡,城外的人想冲进去,城里的人想逃出来."Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out.-Chinese proverb, first a French proverbDespite the ponderous warnings of the title and possible horrors of the setting (late 1930s China), this is a humorous book. It is first a social satire, lampooning the hypocrisy of contemporary academia, and the bizarre tangled rituals of courtship and arran [...]

    • Fortress Besieged (1947) is one of the most famous and influential Chinese novels of the 20th century, and yet I had never heard of it myself till last year. 钱钟书 writes about a generation of Western-educated Chinese youths, and is knowledgeable enough about Europe and America to poke fun at everyone, from French diplomats to the Irish, though he saves his most savage lampooning for the Chinese themselves. Perhaps he overdoes it a little, sometimes you want to tell his characters to JUST ST [...]

    • Fortress Besieged is regarded as one of the great Chinese novels of the twentieth century. Published in the 1940s, and set in 1937-38 during the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war that preceded World War II, it's supposed to be a triumph of social satire, word play, and uniquely Chinese cynicism about relationships, families, and human behavior in general. If all this is true, then the translation in this version has not done Qian Zhongshu justice. Either that, or the social elements that he's se [...]

    • Humorous of harsh language and the deeper observation on life.The title is based on a French proverb:Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out. (Le mariage est une forteresse assiégée, ceux qui sont dehors veulent y entrer, ceux qui sont dedans veulent en sortir.)

    • An odd book, sometimes clunky, but which ultimately stuck with me. The clunkiness is fairly straightforward: it reads more like a series of novellas parodying familiar genres (the tourist novella, the road trip novella, the campus novel, the romantic comedy, the romantic farce). Each of them has its merits, and they do hold together, just, but the structure is very odd. That said, the parody and satire on both West and East (and West-in-East and East-in-West) is great. I'm unsure of the commenta [...]

    • a fantastic literary gem depicting a turbulent time of Chinese history. The original is much better than the translation but I guess this is unavoidable. There is much essence lost in the attempt to fit intricate Asian subtleties into western concepts.

    • Great Chinese book, one I hope to read again. Funny, insightful, philosophical -- not much more one could ask from a book.

    • La fortaleza asediada desmitifica cualquier idea romántica que tuvieramos sobre China y lo hace de una forma demoledora pero a la vez con un humor negrísimo que provoca que todo adquiera un tinte paródico muy llevadero. Los chinos tienen, en esencia, los mismos problemas que el común de los mortales, a saber: los matrimonios sin amor, el no saber qué hacer en la vida o los sinsabores de las relaciones interpersonales. Es cierto que Zhongshu mete a menudo sus críticas sociales sin importarl [...]

    • Fantastic satirical novel that portrays different aspects of Chinese Culture in the late 1930s. Great dialogue, character development, and plot line. Main topics are education, social relationships, family dynamics, and differences between Eastern and Western schools of thought.

    • ¿Puede un libro machista y xenófobo reírse de la falocracia y la xenofobia? Por supuesto que sí, y lo que es mejor, puede hacerlo con inteligencia y mucho, mucho humor. En esta novela, Zhongshu se ríe. Se ríe de los extranjeros, esos franceses buenos para nada, esos yanquis que ya a mediados del siglo XX se creían el ombligo del mundo, esos japoneses que [inserte aquí cualquier comentario derivado de la mentalidad de posguerra sino-japonesa]; se ríe de las mujeres, seres hipócritas, co [...]

    • 圍城,最著名的一句話便是圍在城裡的人想逃出來,城外的人想衝進去,對婚姻也罷,職業也罷,人生的願望大都如此。在與作者相差甚遠的時代背景之下來閱讀,一開始很難進入書中的情節,總覺得人物描寫太過誇張,然而慢慢和角色熟識了,有些人從厭惡到了解,到後來甚至能夠同理而感到一點憐憫,著實是個有趣的閱讀體驗。其實困住自己的圍城,不過是那一點人性中 [...]

    • It’s a sad fact of English-language literature that the number of books translated from English and shipped around the world far outstrips that of books translated into English from other languages. That means the pool of books available to American readers in translation from, say, Mandarin is relatively limited—only works of scholarly interest, unusual acclaim, or specifically Western appeal make their way to our libraries. Fortunately, Qian Zhongshu’s classic Fortress Besieged meets all [...]

    • This is a satirical comedy of manners set in China in 1937 during the Japanese invasion, which only appears in the background. The language takes a little getting used to whether due to the translation or not, I couldn't tell. Almost every page has a funny metaphor, for instance: "He didn't realize that a person's shortcomings are just like a monkey's tail. When it's squatting on the ground, it's tail is hidden from view, but as soon as it climbs a tree, it exposes it's backside to everyone. Nev [...]

    • Excellent read! I'm not a fast reader, but this book couldn't be put down. As a married English teacher living in China, there are so many things that I can relate to. And it gave my the deepest insight yet to personal relationships of the people of China. Of course, it's only fiction, but it's very difficult for foreigners to get a glimpse into the personal lives of Chinese. It's a great book on many levels.

    • It is surprising that Qian is not better known in the Western world. His only novel is a masterpiece that has its rightful place amongst the best of the 20th century. It has everything a novel needs. It's funny, it's clever, it's multi-layered, has skillful character portrays and references to literature world-wide (!) and, importantly, a pleasant pace of story-telling. What more would you want of a book!

    • 3.5/5. The descriptions throughout were really great, and it makes me sad that I didn't read it in the original Chinese, because I feel like I can almost imagine them in Chinese and the effect is almost stronger than what I feel from reading the English translation. However, overall, I found myself a little distracted while reading this book. I know it's satire and the characters are portrayed as caricatures to emphasize this satire. I understand. But on a personal level, I don't really like exa [...]

    • A decent satire. Really liked the sense of humour, but the storyline was far too slow for me. It’s a shame - I can see why this novel is so praised and I understand a lot of it but I just don’t think you can truly “get” this unless you’re native Chinese or were living during that era. Maybe once I have a lot more context I’ll revisit this.

    • Another great book by a Chinese author! The two I've read have both been a gritty look at real and often humble life. Essentially it boils down to existential thought and that's what I loved about this book and the trend I've come across in Chinese literature.

    • A classic comedy of manners from a bygone era – Republican China, pre-Mao and post-Qing – with a tragic ending. The writing, in Chinese at least, is superb, and the characters are so richly drawn that one images that Qian Zhongshu must have been drawing from life (a fact he alludes to in his preface). What little I have read of the English translation seems, unfortunately, to lack the nuanced voice of the original, with its heady mix of vernacular and classical idiom. Summary of the plot [SP [...]

    • This was the first book that I’ve read in China, and hopefully will be a great introduction to my reading while here. It was a great story, which I enjoyed right up until the end. The best summary of the plot is from the back cover in that it follows the “misadventures of the hapless hero”. However I would rather not focus on the plot as I wouldn’t want to ruin the points for anyone that might want to read it, and I don’t think that it is that helpful in getting an understanding of the [...]

    • 錢鐘書 has long been known as a master in literature and philosophy by me. He is that kinda highly educated people from last century, born in wartime China, and read and wrote a lot. Not like contemporary scholars, there is a certain accent in the pieces done by masters like him back then--classy, a bit sarcastic, but vividly described how educated men and women in 20th century thought and acted in their lives.The title of 圍城 has been a metaphor to marriages. Those quarrels between main c [...]

    • As a Chinese student who studied abroad like the protagonist (and also the author of this book), I felt empathetic to the plot. The protagonist who inherited western culture and norm did not get along with the people of his own kind after he came back to China where a war was about to take place. To me, the story is about the rival between the two incompatible cultures. I am from Taiwan originally and I have experienced and acquainted the norm and the custom born from both Eastern and Western cu [...]

    • I can see why this novel is often recommended as a masterpiece of modern Chinese fiction. My opinion of the author's main character, Fang Hung-Chien, changed often throughout my reading, but almost always the character was easy to empathize with. Many of the characters, even the viler ones, were created in such a way as to be identifiable, interesting, and authentic. While the Second Sino-Japanese War is going on in the background, offstage and seemingly distant, the daily lives of the character [...]

    • I'd like to note that Chien Chung-shu is not the translator but the author.I bought this one in the English-language section in a Chongqing Xinhua bookstore. Some Princeton professor is quoted in the back as saying that this may be China's best 20th century novel. Well, I'm not sure about that, but it is an entertaining read and has several interesting observations about WWII China.The story is a satire about a failed, petty and dishonest Chinese scholar who studies abroad in the 1930s. We follo [...]

    • This is considered a Chinese classic written by an important author Qian Zhongshu. I enjoyed the social satire (certainly reminiscent of Swift), academia politics and the insight into “returned students” during a special period in Chinese history when foreign influence is at one of its peaks in both political and intellectual life in China. There are people who think the English translation doesn’t do it justice but in my opinion, it is a fairly good translation, but then I was also readin [...]

    • A terrific novel, and a delight to read, certainly in this vivid Dutch translation.Ik heb al meer citaten uit dit boek aangehaald. Het is misschien geen perfecte roman, maar wel een heel onderhoudende, en je kunt eruit blijven citeren. ('De Ier vloekte en tierde, bedronk zich en ging met rooddoorlopen ogen op zoek naar een Chinees om in elkaar te slaan.') Maar ik denk dat ik maar gewoon een andere recensent citeer: Ger Leppers, die in Trouw een heel goed beeld van het boek schetste (afgezien van [...]

    • This is a really good book for Chinese language students. Most reading material for intermediate students is short texts that don't differ much from what you'd find in a text book. This is an actual novel simplified for the student with vocabulary translations, pinyin, and comprehension questions in Chinese at the end of each chapter. Even with the vocabulary I found there were still some words that I had to look up. Some parts of the story were harder than others but overall I was able to read [...]

    • Un récit moderne qui nous mets en garde contre notre indécision, dénigration des actions et des idées de nos proches en fonction de nos propres idées sans lien avec ce qu'ils pensent vraiment. Un avertissement contre le laisser-aller et la déférence continuelle envers de faux autorités que nous sachons corrompus, se posant comme le mode de vie et l'inaction qui mène à la perte: toutefois ce livre se dispense des appels vers l'ordre moral, et démontre plutôt l'incompréhension mutuell [...]

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