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Chinese Classic ‘Condor Heroes’ Takes Wing In English

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‘In 2000, the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon introduced moviegoers worldwide to superhuman martial artists who could deliver a beatdown while balancing on bamboo or gliding across water. But those kinds of acrobatics were no surprise to Chinese audiences.’

[they were no surprise to me either. very early on, my mom and dad bought us chinese books, translated either in french or english and filled with beautiful illustrations of martial arts warriors who could fly at whim to dodge or deliver a blow.]

‘Jin Yong’s books have been made into comic books, TV shows, movies, and video games — in fact, the latest TV adaptation of Condor Heroes came out in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore last year. Now in his 90s, he no longer gives interviews, but I found no shortage of people who wanted to talk about his work.

“It’s difficult to overestimate (Jin Yong’s) cultural influence,” says Boston University professor Petrus Liu. “He turns novels into an encyclopedia of Chinese history, medicine, geography, philosophy, mathematics … Nobody ever does that.” Liu adds that he considers Jin Yong “the most important author of modern Chinese literature because he is the only (one) who writes in a narrative tradition that is truly Chinese.”‘

Jin Yong’s wildly popular historical series Legends of the Condor Heroes has been adapted many times for Chinese TV, movies and comics, and now the first volume has been translated into English. More here.

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