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The Three Leaps of Wang Lun
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In 1915, fourteen years before Berlin Alexanderplatz, Alfred Doblin published his first novel, an extensively researched Chinese historical extravaganza: The Three Leaps of Wang Lun. Even more remarkably, given its subject matter, the book was written in Expressionist style and is now considered the first modern German novel, as well as the first Western novel to depict a China untouched by the West. It is virtually unknown in English. Based on actual accounts of a doomed rebellion during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the late 18th century, the novel tells the story of Wang Lun, a historical martial arts master and charismatic leader of the White Lotus sect, who leads a futile revolt of the "Truly Powerless." Densely packed cities and Tibetan wastes, political intrigue and religious yearning, imperial court life and the fate of wandering outcasts are depicted in a language of enormous vigor and matchless imagination, unfolding the theme of timidity against force, and a mystical sense of the world against the realities of power.
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An epic from the author of the best-selling Berlin Alexanderplatz, this was Alfred Doblin's first book, also known as the first Western novel to depict China before its contact with Europe.

About the Author

Alfred Doblin (1878-1957) was a novelist, essayist, neurologist, and the leading figure of German Expressionist writing. He is best known for his novel Berlin Alexanderplatz, which was adapted into the acclaimed television series by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1980. C. D. Godwin studied German and Chinese in Edinburgh and Hong Kong. He worked in Hong Kong and China for many years, and now divides his time between England and Beijing. He is preparing an English translation of Doblin's South American trilogy Land without Death.

Reviews

"Doblin unfolds a colourful panorama, teeming with characters, changing landscapes and human activity, all revolving around Wang Lun and his 'Three Leaps, ' the three pivotal moves he makes in his life...Reader prepared to immerse themselves in the noisy, bustling, exotic word of Doblin's novel will be richly rewarded, for it is a challenging, absorbing and, above all, an entertaining book." --Times Literary Supplement "Without the futurist elements of Doblin's work from Wang Lun to Berlin Alexanderplatz, my prose is inconceivable...He'll discomfort you, give you bad dreams. If you're satisfied with yourself, beware of Doblin." --Gunter Grass "I learned more about the essence of the epic from Doblin than from anyone else. His epic writing and even his theory about the epic strongly influenced my own dramatic art." --Bertolt Brecht "I consider Doblin's 1915 novel, The Three Leaps of Wang Lun, the best contemporary German novel by far. It exhibits an entirely superior, most rare, talent. It is true art." --Max Horkheimer "Doblin knew precious little about China when he started his 'big book'; he was mainly attracted by the idea of an entirely exotic non-Western non-modern society, and he researched as he went along. But he caught something very real of that peculiarly bookish tenor of Chinese literature that winds its echoes through much of the vast canon." --Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly Praise for the Calligrams series: "All things must have their beginnings, and this beginning of the 'Calligram' imprint is quite promising...These are inviting volumes. Their invitation is threefold, three volumes to kick off a series that deserves a long life and a wide readership." --Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly Doblin unfolds a colourful panorama, teeming with characters, changing landscapes and human activity, all revolving around Wang Lun and his Three Leaps, the three pivotal moves he makes in his life Reader prepared to immerse themselves in the noisy, bustling, exotic word of Doblin s novel will be richly rewarded, for it is a challenging, absorbing and, above all, an entertaining book. "Times Literary Supplement" "Without the futurist elements of Doblin s work from "Wang Lun" to "Berlin Alexanderplatz," my prose is inconceivable He ll discomfort you, give you bad dreams. If you re satisfied with yourself, beware of Doblin." Gunter Grass "I learned more about the essence of the epic from Doblin than from anyone else. His epic writing and even his theory about the epic strongly influenced my own dramatic art." Bertolt Brecht "I consider Doblin s 1915 novel, "The Three Leaps of Wang Lun," the best contemporary German novel by far. It exhibits an entirely superior, most rare, talent. It is true art." Max Horkheimer "Doblin knew precious little about China when he started his 'big book'; he was mainly attracted by the idea of an entirely exotic non-Western non-modern society, and he researched as he went along. But he caught something very real of that peculiarly bookish tenor of Chinese literature that winds its echoes through much of the vast canon. Steve Donoghue, "Open Letters Monthly" Praise for the Calligrams series: All things must have their beginnings, and this beginning of the Calligram' imprint is quite promising...These are inviting volumes. Their invitation is threefold, three volumes to kick off a series that deserves a long life and a wide readership. Steve Donoghue, "Open Letters Monthly"" "Without the futurist elements of DOblin's work from "Wang Lun" to "Berlin Alexanderplatz," my prose is inconceivable...He'll discomfort you, give you bad dreams. If you're satisfied with yourself, beware of DOblin." --GUnter Grass "I learned more about the essence of the epic from DOblin than from anyone else. His epic writing and even his theory about the epic strongly influenced my own dramatic art." --Bertolt Brecht "I consider DOblin's 1915 novel, "The Three Leaps of Wang Lun," the best contemporary German novel by far. It exhibits an entirely superior, most rare, talent. It is true art." --Max Horkheimer "Doblin knew precious little about China when he started his 'big book'; he was mainly attracted by the idea of an entirely exotic non-Western non-modern society, and he researched as he went along. But he caught something very real of that peculiarly bookish tenor of Chinese literature that winds its echoes through much of the vast canon." --Steve Donoghue, "Open Letters Monthly" Praise for the Calligrams series: "All things must have their beginnings, and this beginning of the 'Calligram' imprint is quite promising...These are inviting volumes. Their invitation is threefold, three volumes to kick off a series that deserves a long life and a wide readership." --Steve Donoghue, "Open Letters Monthly" "Without the futurist elements of Doblin's work from "Wang Lun" to "Berlin Alexanderplatz," my prose is inconceivable...He'll discomfort you, give you bad dreams. If you're satisfied with yourself, beware of Doblin." --Gunter Grass "I learned more about the essence of the epic from Doblin than from anyone else. His epic writing and even his theory about the epic strongly influenced my own dramatic art." --Bertolt Brecht "I consider Doblin's 1915 novel, "The Three Leaps of Wang Lun," the best contemporary German novel by far. It exhibits an entirely superior, most rare, talent. It is true art." --Max Horkheimer

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