The First European Translation of the Jin Ping Mei (1869)

Hartmut Walravens

The First European Translation of the Jin Ping Mei (1869)

(66th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Göttingen, 2024)

It is only a few decades ago that Martin Gimm discovered the manuscript of Hans Conon von der Gabelentz’s (1807–1874) integral translation of this famous novel in the Altenburg (Saxony) Archives, which was subsequently published in a preliminary study edition for scholarly purposes. While Gabelentz’s work, based on the celebrated Manchu version, was a major scholarly achievement for which he composed both a grammar and a dictionary it is a pity that it could not be published then and there because the ruling moral standards would not allow it. The communication explores the advantages and benefits of Gabelentz’s translation which has now been revised edited for the modern reader and is about to be published. The paper comes to the conclusion that this work is a valuable addition not only to Chinese but also to Manchu literature and may be regarded as a masterpiece in its own right.