What Are China’s Four Great Classical Novels?
Chinese literature contains four masterpieces known as the Four Great Classical Novels (四大名著). Journey to the West, Outlaws of the Marsh, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Dream of the Red Chamber were written during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Throughout the centuries, these 100-plus-chapter novels have permeated Chinese culture and been represented in art, film, drama, literature, and more. The stories—from the adventures of the magical Monkey King to heroic episodes from Outlaws—are well-known by everyone in China from children to the elderly. They depict characters who abide by Buddhist, Taoist, and traditional Chinese moral philosophies, offering the reader insight to understanding the traditional Chinese way of thought.
Today their influence has spread across the international community. Shen Yun also presents exhilarating pieces inspired by the Four Classic Novels live on stage each season.