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The Old Man of the Moon (Penguin Little Black Classics)

by Shen Fu

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998215,998 (3.5)1
'Our passion was so great. Will the Old Man understand and help us once again?'The Old Man of the Moonis Shen Fu's intimate and moving account of his marriage - from early passion to the trials of poverty and separation - and his great, enduring love for his wife in eighteenth-century China. Introducing Little Black Classics- 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
It's a bittersweet tale of love and loss. Written as a memoir of the time husband Shen spent with his wife Yün before she passed away and set in China around 1770 and 1805(ish). Their love was tragic and romantic. Not my usual read, and dry in parts, but I quite enjoyed reading it. Not something I intend to read again though. ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
It's a bittersweet tale of love and loss. Written as a memoir of the time husband Shen spent with his wife Yün before she passed away and set in China around 1770 and 1805(ish). Their love was tragic and romantic. Not my usual read, and dry in parts, but I quite enjoyed reading it. Not something I intend to read again though. ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
...Our souls became smoke and mist ... it was as if my body ceased to exist...

I would advise all the husbands and wives in the world not to hate each other, certainly,but also not to love too deeply.


The narrator of Shen Fu’s "The Old Man of the Moon" is a widower who wistfully recounts the joys and trials of his marriage to his cousin Yun. Written in 1809 and rediscovered in the 1870s, this tale of a man who “loved his wife too deeply” is not far removed from the novels of lost or thwarted love which were a staple of the European Romantic movement. The prose is generally formal, simple and matter-of-fact and, frankly, rather at odds with the passion seething underneath. Although I suspect that this might be something of a culture-specific issue, the style might also be meant to reflect the character of the narrator whose “purpose is merely to record true feelings and actual events”. Newly published in the “Penguin Little Black Classics” series, this is a novella worth exploring. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
...Our souls became smoke and mist ... it was as if my body ceased to exist...

I would advise all the husbands and wives in the world not to hate each other, certainly,but also not to love too deeply.


The narrator of Shen Fu’s "The Old Man of the Moon" is a widower who wistfully recounts the joys and trials of his marriage to his cousin Yun. Written in 1809 and rediscovered in the 1870s, this tale of a man who “loved his wife too deeply” is not far removed from the novels of lost or thwarted love which were a staple of the European Romantic movement. The prose is generally formal, simple and matter-of-fact and, frankly, rather at odds with the passion seething underneath. Although I suspect that this might be something of a culture-specific issue, the style might also be meant to reflect the character of the narrator whose “purpose is merely to record true feelings and actual events”. Newly published in the “Penguin Little Black Classics” series, this is a novella worth exploring. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Sep 12, 2020 |
Full review to come! ( )
  Floratina | Dec 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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I was born in the winter of the 27th year of the reign of the Emperor Chien Lung, on the second and twentieth day of the eleventh month.
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"Our passion was so great. Will the Old Man understand and help us once again?" ; "An affectionate couple cannot grow old together";
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'Our passion was so great. Will the Old Man understand and help us once again?'The Old Man of the Moonis Shen Fu's intimate and moving account of his marriage - from early passion to the trials of poverty and separation - and his great, enduring love for his wife in eighteenth-century China. Introducing Little Black Classics- 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

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