What’s the best translation of The Nine Cloud Dream?

I’ve now read this book three times. I’ve read the 2019 Fenkl translation twice and the 1922 Gale translation once. I haven’t read the out-of-print 1974 Rutt translation. The Fenkl translation is more faithful to the original text, but the Gale translation is okay. For more information on all three translations, visit We Love Translations: World Literature in English:

» What’s the best translation of The Nine Cloud Dream?

See below for a list of characters in The Nine Cloud Dream.

I’ve given the character names as spelled by Fenkl and Gale and also the English meanings as given by Fenkl and Gale. Fenkl uses Chinese-style names using archaic-feel Wade-Giles romanization and Gale uses Korean-style names mixed with English names. I’m pretty sure Fenkl is using the same names that Rutt used.

(Scholars have determined that the original was written in classical Chinese, not Korean Hangul, but I think Gale was using a Hangul source text.)

Beware spoilers! Knowing who the characters are is a bit like knowing the plot.

Continue reading What’s the best translation of The Nine Cloud Dream?


When I spotted this Korean drink called baekseju (百歲酒) on the menu at the very excellent and formerly close to my house Jang Won Korean Restaurant, I thought it might be a version of the famous Chinese alcohol called báijiǔ (白酒), which is sometimes called ‘white wine’—though not by anybody who’s ever had any.

Nope. The Chinese word bái (白) is ‘white’ and the Chinese word bǎi () is ‘hundred’.

Silly ang moh, those are obviously two totally different words.



Wait, hang on, that text on the Korean menu looks, um, rather similar to what’s currently on Wikipedia…

I didn’t photograph the whole menu page, though, so it’s not clear whether those prices are subjected to service charge and tax.