Based on literary works produced by the multiethnic literati of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), this dissertation examines Chinese conceptions of the Steppe world in the early years of the Mongol era (1206–1260). As I show, late Jin literati, who took arduous journeys in the Eurasian Steppes, initiated transcultural communications between the Chinese and Steppe worlds. Their writings encouraged more Chinese literati to reach out to the Mongols and hence facilitated the spread of the ideal Confucian-style governance to the Mongol empire. In general, I follow the approach of New Historicism in analyzing poetic works. Even though the Mongol conquest of China damaged many northern literary texts, materials surviving from the thirteenth century still feature a great diversity. I brought historical records and inscriptions on stela to study the social conditions under which these literary works were produced. This dissertation aims to contribute a new voice to the ongoing effort to modify the traditional linear understanding of the development of Chinese literary tradition.
- Born of the North Wind: Northern Chinese Poetry and the Eurasian Steppes, 1206–1260