The Somewhat Less Than Critical Commentaries

A Series of Websites Devoted to Chinese Classical Novels

Website Credits


The content and design of this site are the intellectual property of Dr. David Keffer. Permission to reproduce this text must be obtained from Dr. David Keffer.

Dr. Keffer first became interested in Classical Chinese Literature when taking a course called "Chinese Literary Heritage" in the fall semester of 1988 at the University of Florida, Gainesville, taught by Dr. Cynthia Chennault. In that course he first read, Dream of the Red Chamber. He would like to acknowledge that a life-long hobby and appreciation sprung from this class.

The images that appear on these pages are taken from a Ming Dynasty edition of Outlaws of the Marsh and were scanned from reproductions published in the Beijing University Press First Hardback Translation.


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Outlaws of the Marsh: Guan Sheng the "Big Halberd" challenges Zheng Biao the "Prince of Demons" to battle. When it becomes clear that Guan Sheng is on the verge of defeating Zheng, Bao Daoyi, Fang La's royal astrologer, casts a magic spell causing a black cloud to rise from Zheng's helmet. From this cloud a spirit in golden armor appeared, grasping a Demon-Smiting Cudgel. Song Jiang immediately directed Fan Rui the "Demon King Who Roils the World" to cast a counter spell, causing a white cloud to emanate from Guan Sheng's helmet. From the cloud, a spirit sat astride a black dragon, with an iron hammer in his hand. Both the spirit summoned by Fan Rui as well as Guan Sheng emerge victorious from the battle.