Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Invitation to World Literature


Recommended Translations & Editions

EditionsAbout these Editions

Arthur Waley, Monkey, (Evergreen Books, 1994)


This is our recommended text. Arthur Waley's translation of Wu Ch'êng-ên's original tale was first published in 1942. It is a superb abridgment of the very long original, fast-paced and highly readable, giving a good selection of key episodes focused on the novel's most popular character, the monkey-king known as "Aware-of-Vacuity."

Anthony C. Yu, trans., Journey to the West (University of Chicago Press, 4 volumes, 1977-1983)


Professor Anthony Yu stays close to Wu Ch'êng-ên's original, and is particularly effective in translating the many poems scattered through the text. Even people lacking time to read all four volumes can gain a lot from reading the first volume. This is the first full edition of the work in English.

W. J. F. Jenner, trans., Journey to the West (Foreign Languages Press; Reprint edition, 4 volumes, 1984); also available in a one-volume abridged version (Asiapac Books, 1994)


Written fifty years ago by a British translator, it is still very readable, and falls in between Waley and Yu in terms of faithfulness to the original story.