Wu Cheng’en

(c. 1500 - c. 1582)

A fan of monster stories in his youth, Wu Cheng’en was classically educated during an era of conservative literary tastes; the rallying cry of leading literary scholars in sixteenth-century China was “No prose after the Han Dynasty; no poetry after the First Period of the Tang Dynasty!” To avoid the disgrace of writing his comic novel Journey to the West—now considered one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature—Wu published it anonymously; his authorship was long unknown and remains disputed.

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