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Keith Tse


As a former literature student at the University of Oxford, I have studied many different literary genres in western literature, and I have been especially interested in the reception of classical genres in the medieval, Renaissance and modern periods and the relation between later literary imitations and their literary antecedents. Below is a list of works that have fascinated me in this regard: 

Sophocles' Aias

Sophocles' Aias is one of the best Greek tragedies that we have, well up there with some all-time classics like Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, Euripides' Medea and so on. It deals with the story of Aias, the great hero in Homer who has his moment of glory in his victory over Hector in Iliad Book 6. He also fights as a stalwart during long periods of crisis when the gods favour the Trojans over the Greeks and give them superiority. 


I have not singled out any particular pieces of poetry by Vergil since with the exception of the Appendix Vergiliana (which is highly dubious anyway), Vergil's entire literary career is very much modelled on Greek literature. 

Shakespeare's Hamlet

One of the towering masterpieces of all time, Shakespeare's Hamlet is deeply puzzling and elusive from every literary angle. Yet it is undeniable that it is firmly embedded in western mythological traditions, namely the classic Oedipus theme of divine intervention, double determination and human will in this classic story of exile and vengeance. 

JinYong's Tianlongbabu 

JinYong's contemporary martial arts (wuxia) and historical novels are extremely popular in contemporary Sinosphere, and people have traditionally had mixed thoughts about Tianlongbabu. Very few people consider this to be JinYong's best novel, but I am of the opinion that JinYong's Tianlongbabu is one of the best literary works in modern world literature. For an interpretation of Tianlongbabu in Chinese, see my page. 

Lion King

Disney's Lion King is considered by many to the best western animation of all time, since not only is it fantastically well-made with wonderful animation (by its contemporary standars) and beautiful music, it also has an amazing dramaplot which plays on western mythology, namely the classic Oedipus theme of destiny and vengeance (see above). 

Akira Kurozawa's  Ran (1985)
Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy (2003)

Park Chan Wook's Oldboy is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is part of Park's vengeance trilogy. 

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