Talk:Water Margin

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Do not archive![edit]

To rewrite[edit]

This section was put on the lead because it is a large chunk of the page that needs to be rewritten. It details only the last few chapters of the book. The entire book needs to be detailed. The chapter outline is not detailed enough. Here is what was redacted from the page:

78-80 Gao Qiu's imperial assault (the fifth) on Liangshan Marsh


Marshal Gao Qiu is the commander-in-chief of the expedition against the Liangshan bandits. He summons Commander Liu Menglong, who is adept in naval warfare, and 10 commandants from the various provinces in the empire, to aid in the expedition. The Liangshan bandits, upon knowing this, prepare for battle by readying their weapons, horses, soldiers and rations. In addition, Lin Chong, Huyan Zhuo and Hua Rong are tasked with 2000 men each to make an initial challenge at the imperial force's castle. A few of Marshal Gao's generals are killed and he quickly withdraws his forces into the castle. This provides a great morale boost to the Liangshan bandits.

In order to conquer Liangshan, the imperial forces have to traverse the 800 li marsh. Commander Liu is in charge of the naval forces during this battle. However, the Ruan brothers of Liangshan manage to rout Commander Liu's forces when he is forced to split his boats in order to pass narrow creeks. Commander Liu is captured but released. Marshal Gao executes Commander Liu for the failure, and also due to him being redundant as all his men are killed or captured in the marsh.

The 10 commandants suggest that 100 paddleboats be built for another assault. This time, Gao Qiu leads the assault force by himself. However, the Liangshan bandits again win the battle by having their men diving under Marshal Gao's boats and making holes in them. Gao Qiu is captured and brought to the Liangshan stronghold.

81-82 The Outlaws are granted amnesty

Lin Chong, upon hearing of Gao Qiu's capture, grabs his weapon and is ready to execute him. However, Song Jiang prevents him from doing so, saying Gao Qiu would make it easier for the Liangshan heroes to be granted amnesty. Marshal Gao Qiu and his assistant, Captain Li are kept at the Liangshan stronghold for several days, with good food and lodging. Finally Song Jiang meets with Gao Qiu and proposes to release him together with Captain Li, on the condition that he help with persuading the Song emperor (Huizhong) in granting the Liangshan bandits amnesty. Gao Qiu readily agrees to the condition to save his own life.

When Gao Qiu is about to leave Liangshan, Lin Chong gets wind of his impending departure from Yan Qing and rushes to the shore with Lu Zhishen, only to see Gao Qiu's boat rowing away in the distance. Lin Chong vomits blood and faints, and becomes bedridden.

Gao Qiu, upon returning, feigns illness to avoid punishment by the emperor for his failure in the expedition. The Imperial Tutor, Cai Jing, comes to visit him for a discussion. He suggests that Gao Qiu recommend the emperor to grant amnesty to the Liangshan bandits, so that they can order the bandits to go after Fang La in the south, who has declared himself an emperor. This would greatly weaken the forces of Song's men so that the treacherous officials can more easily deal with them.

Song Jiang's men are finally granted amnesty, but some of the brothers decide to reject the offer of officialship and leave the Liangshan brotherhood. Lin Chong finally dies after his prolonged period in bed, regretting his failure to kill Gao Qiu.

--Ghostexorcist 10:56, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

I think it would be better to omit an extremely detailed, chapter by chapter summary of the book. It creates a very long and somewhat unorganized section or page. Instead, I think we should summarize the story through the main plot points and events. Otherwise, we could also summarize the novel through biographies of the various main characters and their progression through the novel.

--Technicolor852 (talk) 21:48, 23 May 2014 (UTC)


    • I noticed that the pinyin title is shui(3)hu(3)chuan(2). It should be shui(3)hu(3)zhuan(4). That character has multiple readings. I'll leave it to the community to decide to change it, though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)


To Giantcn - if you insist on having it your way, fine. You are a mere vandal who will be despised by the wiki community and I do not see how your article which is written in an incomprehensible language, can possibly be beneficial to anyone, given this is an encyclopaedia. Chensiyuan 20:31, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Why are you afraid of keeping my talk intact so that other can know who is ignorant about Water Margin in fact? Why not duel by words on the understanding of Water Margin? Let other wikipedians be the judge, to see whose article is shit and who will be despised by others. taunt and threat are not good ways for fight. I am waiting for you.


This is turnin out to be quite funny, but it is VERY, VERY evident that Giant is a fool 03:01, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

ya, if you are really sincere you should put it up in the talk page - the grammar is substantially bad. plus syntax. maybe youre better off editing it in your chinese, since i presume ur cn stands for china or sth. keep the main page free of errors for everybodys sake 21:09, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

For the sake of everyone, I tried to edit around the entries; as I went along however I realise a shake-up is more appropriate. The entry in general has several other problems associated with whether it is even encylopedic at all -

this whole article needs a quality improvement, some sections do not convey the ideas very well.



  • I cleaned up the "Fiction and Realities" section for style and grammar. If anybody can verify the Mao/Deng incident with a source or give more info, that'd be nice. Links to different versions of the story availible in translation would also be handy. Lampros 21:12, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Should there maybe be a synopsis somewhere? And is there a free translation anywhere online? 20:25, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Hello guys! I was wondering if we could start a new section on the plot of Water Margin as in the major happenings in the novel, so as to enable readers to determine whether to read the novel? Thanks. Kiwi8 17:16, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I started on Chapter 78-80, as the TV show in my country has just finished showing that. Will try to fill in the rest when I have the time. Meanwhile, those of you who know the contents of the novel very well, feel free to fill in the missing chapters, or refine my contribution. Kiwi8 18:53, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

yeah by all means. just create a new section with a plot synopsis and people would take it from there Chensiyuan 18:16, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


I remember reading in the water margin somewhere that a Taoist priest attached talismans to a fellow outlaw’s arms and legs, which allowed them to run very fast (provided they refrained from eating meat and drinking alcohol). Was this Taoist Gongsun Sheng or Pan Rui?

The reason I ask is because I feel it is note worthy to be added to either magicians’ article. (Ghostexorcist 11:36, 26 November 2006 (UTC))

It was Dai Zhong. Thanks for the answer. The magic running info is already on his page. (Ghostexorcist 18:52, 26 November 2006 (UTC))


Could we put a small block of text in all four translations (Buck, Shapiro, Dent-Young, J.H. Jackson), in WikiSource perhaps and link to it, so that a reader can compare the different translations? Or is this totally outside the scope of the "major" Wiki pages? 18:25, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

That sounds like a great idea to me. Bertport 19:58, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Zhou Tong[edit]

Okay, I’ve got a question for those who have read the original Chinese version of the water margin. Apart from the 'Little Tyrant' Zhou Tong (周通), is there ever a similarly named Zhou Tong (monk) (周侗) (different characters) mentioned in regards to Wu Song, Lin Chong or Lu Junyi in the book? The reason I ask is because the Zhou Tong in question is said, acording to popular chinese legend, to be the martial arts master of these three outlaws.

General Yue Fei’s fictional biography (early - mid Qing Dynasty) explicitly mentions Lin Chong and Lu Junyi as Zhou Tong's students. However there is no historical evidence to support this as far as I know. That having been said, I believe that since the water margin was written well before Yue Fei’s fictional biography (which many take as historical fact), the original author fused elements from that book into his. Thoughts? (Ghostexorcist 07:23, 25 December 2006 (UTC))


Strikes me that some of the adaptations are famous enough in their own right to merit entries. I'm specifically thinking:

However, the recent TV series and other films may also qualify (I don't know much about them though) hence the disambiguous nature of the names. I was thinking along teh lines of the War of the Worlds adaptations eventually. (Emperor 16:19, 19 January 2007 (UTC))

I find it note worthy that these characters have become such a part of Chinese tradition that they are almost arch-type status. One can see characters in many other movies which characters are easily recognizable from the Water Front, e.g. in the big brawl at the inn in "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

- - - - 120 chapter version of water margin?- - - -[edit]

- - - - I'm very interested in reading this novel as well as well as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but I read on here that there is an extended 120 chapter version. How can this be when the English translations only have 100 chapters? Will this be available? I want to get it, but somehow feel that I wouldn't be getting the complete story, even though it's 100 chapters... - - - - Cttt —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cttt (talkcontribs) 17:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC).

It's not like the book was written by an American and translated into Chinese. It's 100% Chinese. There are many versions of it out there, including a 120 chapter version. The English translation is based upon the 100 and 70 chapter editions.(Ghostexorcist 22:01, 17 February 2007 (UTC))

Well, I understand, but is the 120 chapter version available in English?


I doubt it. Just go with Sydney Shapiro's 100 chapter translation or learn Chinese. (Ghostexorcist 11:55, 27 February 2007 (UTC))

Thanks, I think I'll do that... I've heard his translation is good...What did you think of it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cttt (talkcontribs)
I think it's excellent. However, I've never read the Chinese version. (Ghostexorcist 04:50, 1 March 2007 (UTC))
The Dent-Young translation is of the 120-chapter version. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 28 July 2010 (UTC)


I moved this from the header box where it DID NOT belong.(Ghostexorcist 11:55, 27 February 2007 (UTC))

Hi, I have just amended the origins of the Water Margin. However I discover that my amendments were reverted repeatedly. I do not mean to impose myself on this community but I wish to inform the readers of the factual information I have come across while researching on the Water Margin.

As I am now researching critiques of the Water Margin for my work, I have come across numerous citations in various literature reviews published by Chinese scholars on the subject matter. The Water Margin was in fact written by Shi Nai Yan and edited by Luo Guan Zong as mentioned in a symposium for the Water Margin. It is also set in the Northern Song Dynasty as you can find in the novel, it was during the reign of emporer Zhe Zong (哲宗). He was the third last emporer of the Northern Song dynasty and peasant uprisings were common during the end of the Northern Song.

Please understand that Wikipedia is a collaborative effort by everyone to make the articles more accurate, and not merely vandalism. We need to work on the basis of mutual respect, and not dismiss others so quickly.

Talkativeman 08:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)talkativeman

it's really a credibility issue. for e.g., 中 in Luo's name is clearly Zhong, not Zong. and it's 101% the "Ruan" brothers, not "Yuan" brothers. so when you keep editing otherwise, it seems your research is already suspect. Chensiyuan 17:14, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Merge from Guo Shiguang[edit]

Whichever editor removed the merge tags, please don't repeat that, removal of administrative tags is considered vandalism.

I propose the merger from Guo Shiguang, as it a stub with little to no information about the character, and completely irrelevant outside of the context of the main article Water Margin. The character is not mentioned in the box at the end of article.

If the character's notability isn't asserted, I will be nominating the stub for deletion in 48 hours. Thanks

xC | 04:51, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I think he is notable to a certain extent because he killed Xuan Zan, but the page is clearly lacking in many areas. I second your merge nomination. (Ghostexorcist 04:56, 8 March 2007 (UTC))
you didn't even provide a reason for merging, you are the true vandal. suppose i go around putting merge tags without explaining why, would i not be the destructive person. whoever that put the merge tag for no reason, please don't repeat that, as you are wasting people's time. Chensiyuan 06:26, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
  • He has already provided a perfectly good reason for the merge. He stated the page was "a stub with little to no information about the character, and completely irrelevant outside of the context of the main article Water Margin." I don't see what the problem is. Why do you feel it necessary to attack him? (Ghostexorcist 06:32, 8 March 2007 (UTC))
it's very simple. he called me a vandal for removing the tag. i removed it because he did not provide a merge reason *at the point* where he put the tag. so he has provided a reason now, but he cannot expect people not to remove the tag when he put it up and offered no reason at that point in time. apart from the fact that i am not attacking him, he chose to call me a vandal first, and without reason, on those two counts.
Well if you have been editing here for a while, you should know better than to delete administrative tags without discussion. Even if he didn't give an explanation at first, a line of discussion should have been at least attempted before anything was deleted. I think him calling you a vandal was in response to your immediate removal of the tag. Now that we know why the tag was removed and put back up, I think we should start discussing the merger instead of throwing names back and forth.(Ghostexorcist 06:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC))
fair enough. that would be counterproductive. how do you propose it be merged. centaur's alternative is to delete it. i cannot understand how that is productive. Water Margin is a classic text; there are some at most 200 characters in Water Margin. while i am not saying every character should be given treatment in WP, insofar as each character was covered to some degree in the story, the notability is obvious. in Guo Shiguang's case, he may not be as significant as the 108, but some of the 108 are also barely mentioned in the story, but the 108 will always remain notable. i don't see why it cannot remain a stub. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chensiyuan (talkcontribs)
moreover, you did not even propose how the two can be integrated. Chensiyuan 06:30, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Alright, I'll reply pointwise -

  • Kindly do not call me a vandal, that is a personal attack. Please note the language I used - removing the template a second time would be considered vandalism. Please take note of WP:NPA.
  • I have successfully completed over 25 different merges in different fields all over WP. My involvement with Wikipedia:Proposed mergers testifies to that. I have never found it to be a requirement to list reasons for a merge when one of the pages involved is merely a stub.
  • Your assessment that I am wasting people's time is merely your point of view, if you could give me concrete reasons why or how my contributions are wasting people's time, I would be grateful.
  • Proposals for the merger - in such cases, generally one of the following is done -
    • Seperate section for 'bit parts' or characters with small roles to play in the overall story
    • Seperate page altogether for characters of unclear importance. He is not mentioned sufficiently in the main article to warrant a seperate sub-section of his own, but if his role is notable, then he could be in a seperate section on that page. (See Animorphs#Characters)
    • Lastly, any unique implementation which all editors agree to, which preserves the meaning and importance of the character without content forking or duplication of storylines
    • If all the above fail, then the stub is usually turned into a re-direct or nominated for deletion.

Thanks xC | 07:12, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Lin Chong -- Synopsis errors[edit]

I just finished Sidney Shapiro's translation, and the synopsis for chapters 81-82 is off. Lin Chong -- according to Shapiro's version -- dies of illness late into the Fang La campaign, well after Gao Qiu is released, and never tries to kill Gao. Also, Gao and the corrupt officials do not explicitly send the bandits against Fang La to weaken them (in fact, the bandits petition the emperor to send them against Fang La, as they want to further distinguish themselves against the enemies of the emperor).

Could someone clarify if the synopsis is from a different translation, or is just wrong? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:29, 14 May 2007 (UTC).

Yes different versions tell it differently. Chensiyuan 11:56, 5 August 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't Eiji Yoshikawa's adaptaion be listed in the Japanese section? (talk) 13:07, 26 April 2008 (UTC)


水滸傳 and 水浒传 should exist as native language redirects. (talk) 05:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)


The Wade-Giles names should exist in the article and as redirects. (talk) 05:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

reverted for unknown reason[edit]

Popular saying
Regarding this novel and another Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, there is a popular saying in China that goes: "少不讀水滸, 老不讀三國", translated as "The young shouldn't read Water Margin while the old shouldn't read The Three Kingdoms." The former depicts the lives of outlaws and their defiance with the established social system. Depicting frequent violence, brawls, passionate brotherhood and an emphasis on machismo, it could easily have a negative influence on young boys. The latter presents all kinds of sophisticated stratagem, deceptions, frauds, trickeries, traps and snares employed by the three kingdoms and their individual characters to compete with each other, which might tempt the experienced old readers (the elderly are traditionally well respected, trusted and considered wise and kindhearted in Chinese society) to use them to harm other people. Also, old people are supposed to "know the will of the heavens" (says Confucius). They shouldn't exhaust or strain themselves with always having to consider how to deceive others

The above was excised. However, since the Romance of the Three Kingdoms article contains this information, this article should as well. So, why doesn't it? 07:01, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not the person who did it, but it was reverted because the paragraph had no citations. I have heard the sayings before myself, though. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 12:29, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I am, as is often the case, grateful to editor Sevilledade for the dedication to detail and editing zeal, but I do not follow the reasoning in the Sept 14 set of changes, for which no sources are given. Sevilledade is too intelligent an editor to make changes without good grounds, but until we can see what they are, I feel justified in using the good points in the recent edits but restoring the basic content of the earlier one. I am away from my books and references, so please correct me if I am wrong.

The comment on the edits is

The information regarding the first printed edition and other editions (70, 100, 120) is already mentioned below. This introduction is talking about when it was written. Also removed the duplicate reference (Yenna) that was cited twice.

The lede is not the place to go into great detail, to be sure, but Shui Hu Zhuan as we know it was not written in the 14th century, though important elements can be traced to this period. That is, the origins are 14th century, but not the present novel itself. Surely an honest description of the novel must mention that the first printed version we have is 1589, and that we have no firm evidence for authorship, whether to Shi Nai’an or anyone else.

The point which Yenna Wu makes, which Andrew Plaks established about the four great late Ming novels, synthesizing many earlier works, was that these novels were new creations using old material. As Plaks puts it, “none of these 16th century editions is an entirely original literary creation” but “represents the culmination of a long prior and subsequent history of source materials, antecedent narratives, and alternate recensions.”[Andrew H. Plaks. The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel : Ssu Ta Ch'i-Shu. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987). ISBN 0691067082. p.3] That is, there is no one authoritative text. The late Ming literati reworked earlier material to make what Plaks argues are decisively different from and a “significant advance over their hypothetical or extant antecedents.” [p. 5] Qing dynasty editors such as Jing Shengtan or Zhang Jupo later freely abridged or rewrote them into popular editions on which some English translations are based. This is why our readers need to know that there are 70, 100, and 120 chapter versions.

Plaks Chapter 4, “Shui-hu chuan: Deflation of Heroism (pp. 279-359) discusses the textual history in some detail.

Given these scholarly findings, the best thing for us is to simply state facts: the first extant printed edition is late Ming, using materials which go back to the 14th century.

Plaks shows that the late Ming literati versions are the ones we read today, and on which our translations are based. They established the model for what we call “the classical Chinese novel.” Plaks sums up: “I will attempt to refute the common view that this genre is primarily an outgrowth of the popular tradition, relating it instead to patterns of composition, critical theories, and prevailing intellectual trends more characteristic of the literati milieu.” [p. 16]

This is more detail than we need in the lede, but neither we should not insert material which contradicts the standard scholarship.

If I have misunderstood, please correct, but with sources.

I am at a loss to understand why a passing reference in a footnote in Robin Porter’s book on a completely different topic is restored to two references while a standard treatment by a specialist in this field is removed (and called by her given name, not her family name). Robin Porter is an excellent scholar, but I would be flabbergasted if he claims to be an authority on the Ming novel.

Cheers in any case, ch (talk) 03:03, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

If we date these works based on their first published version, then Dante's Divine Comedy would be considered a late 15th-century book? Since there is no surviving original manuscript and the earliest published version came from 1472. Water Margin is commonly attributed to Shi Nai'an. Is he the actual author? We don't know, thus the complex textual history of the novel is addressed below.--Sevilledade (talk) 10:13, 15 September 2013 (UTC)