Pinyin with audio and Chinese characters: Fortress Besieged

cover of the book 'The Besieged City' (围城)Sinolingua‘s terrific series of abridged editions of classic Chinese books includes one of my favorites, which may well be the finest novel written in Mandarin during the twentieth century: Qian Zhongshu’s Wéichéng (圍城/围城), best known in English as Fortress Besieged but published by Sinolingua with the English title of The Besieged City.

I’m very pleased to announce that now offers the first chapter of Sinolingua’s edition this book, along with an audio file of it being read aloud. This edition is in Mandarin, in word-parsed Hanyu Pinyin (with Chinese characters underneath) and has a few notes in English as well as mp3 files of the text being read aloud.

Here’s the download page: Wéichéng (圍城/围城/).

I’ve often told people who plan to go to China and want me to recommend a book that will help them “understand” the country (as if!) they’re about to visit: “By all means, read the Analects of Confucius, the Dàodéjīng, and the Zhuāngzǐ; but know in advance that they’ll be about as relevent to your trip as reading the Gospels would be to someone from China who’s about to travel to the West for the first time. And don’t waste your time with crap like The Tao of the Chinese Boardroom’s Inner Art of Feng-shui or whatever. Read Fortress Besieged. It’s as good a start as just about anything — and a lot more fun to read.”

The novel is also available in a fine English translation.

Related reading:

screenshot of part of a paragraph of the PDF of this book

2 thoughts on “Pinyin with audio and Chinese characters: Fortress Besieged

  1. I’ve already received some enthusiastic responses to this through e-mail. But at least one reader has recommended that I make clearer that these texts (including the Ba Jin novels) are abridged not just in the sense of being shorter than the original but also in having been somewhat rewritten so as to help language learners.

    Here’s the publisher’s blurb on this:

    Well-read Chinese literature works have been selected for Abridged Chinese Classic Series and the abridged version has kept the storyline and style of language of the original.
    Each text contains about 30,000 to 50,000 words, and new words are kept less than 5% of the total words. It is designed for Chinese language learners who have finished basic Chinese grammar and acquired 2000 words (first and second level vocabulary of elementary HSK proficiency). For the convenience of the learners, pinyin has been added to the full text, so have explanations to new words when they appear for the first time. Explanatory notes to phrases and expressions and some study questions are included after each chapter. The learners can listen to the complimentary CD in mp3 format for correct pronunciation. This series can not only serve as materials for leisure reading thanks to its classic and well-written language, and as texts for reading in Chinese training programs thanks to its proper length and explanatory notes, but also as assistance for international readers to approach the original works.

  2. Is there an English translation of this abridged version to help beginners like me to enjoy the book while studying the basics? At the moment it is beyond me but I am happy to look up most words in order to learn more essential vocabulary and to reinforce that which I already know. A translation would make it that much more enjoyable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *