Four Great Classics refers to the four most famous and influential classic novels in Chinese literature: "Journey to the West", "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", "Water Margin" and "Dream of the Red Chamber". The Chinese name for these four works is "Si Da Ming Ju" (四大名著).
The first novel, "Journey to the West", is a fantasy novel written by Wu Cheng'en in the Ming Dynasty. It tells the story of a Buddhist monk named Xuanzang who travels to India to obtain Buddhist scriptures with the help of three disciples, including the famous Monkey King. This novel is often adapted into various movies, TV dramas and cartoons, and is popular all over the world.
The second novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", is a historical novel written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century. It depicts the struggles and battles between three kingdoms during the Eastern Han Dynasty, including famous characters such as Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Cao Cao. The novel is not only an influential work of literature, but also a valuable historical source for understanding Chinese history.
The third novel, "Water Margin", also known as "Outlaws of the Marsh", is a classic novel written by Shi Nai'an in the 14th century. It tells the story of a group of 108 outlaws who rose up against corrupt officials and tyrannical rulers during the Song Dynasty. The novel is known for its vivid descriptions of different characters and their unique personalities, as well as its depiction of social turmoil and moral conflicts.
The fourth novel, "Dream of the Red Chamber", also known as "The Story of the Stone", is a masterpiece of Chinese literature written by Cao Xueqin in the 18th century. It depicts the decline of a wealthy aristocratic family during the Qing Dynasty, and the love story between a young leman and a beautiful maid. The novel is renowned for its exquisite prose, its attention to detail in characterizing the different members of the family, and its exploration of the themes of beauty, love, and human nature.
In summary, the Four Great Classics are essential books for anyone interested in Chinese culture, literature and history. They are widely read and reciated not only in China, but also around the world.