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The frustrations of heaven's fragrance: an analysis and translation of Guan Hanqing's Qian dayin zhichong xie tianxiang

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This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a

This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a plot summary and notes about the analysis and translation. Through a close reading of the play, I hope to illustrate how the play's complicated ending and lack of complete resolution reveals why it has received relatively little attention from scholars who have previously discussed other strong, intelligent female characters in Guan Hanqing's plays. The second chapter of this thesis includes translation of the play that is comprised of a wedge preceding the four acts. Before each act of the play is a critical introduction and analysis of the act to follow. Although many of Guan Hanqing's plays have been translated into English, this play has never been translated.

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2011

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What does it take to be human?: foreignness in Yuan Mei's Zi buyu

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Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716-97) is often thought of as a rebellious figure within the eighteenth-century intellectual and literary landscape. His perceived rejection of nearly all aspects of Confucian values was so extreme that he was even dubbed a "sinner against

Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716-97) is often thought of as a rebellious figure within the eighteenth-century intellectual and literary landscape. His perceived rejection of nearly all aspects of Confucian values was so extreme that he was even dubbed a "sinner against the teachings of Confucius." This thesis examines six stories within Yuan Mei's Zi buyu 子不語 (What Confucius Did Not Talk About) and, through close reading, shows how Yuan Mei utilizes each foreign group's physical traits and their ability to verbally and/or ethically communicate with the Chinese protagonist, in order to reflect their adherence to Confucian values and acceptance of Chinese imperial authority to arrange them along a spectrum of humanness that reflects the Chinese-foreign distinction. Furthermore, by examining each story in their historical and literary contexts, it is discovered that nearly every foreign group portrayed in Zi buyu is based on historical groups that actually existed on the periphery of the Qing empire, and that the different degrees of foreignness of each subject reflect each historical foreign group's acquiescence to or rebellion against the imperial authority of the Qing empire. Contrary to commonly held opinions, Yuan Mei's negotiation of foreignness demonstrates his own deep subscription to Confucian ethics and adherence to imperial order.

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2012

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Placing Ye: the city and its representation in literature

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ABSTRACT

This dissertation examines the history of the early medieval city Ye 鄴 and its place in the literary tradition. Ye was the powerbase of the warlord Cao Cao 曹操 (155–220) and the birthplace of the Jian’an 建安 literature. It was

ABSTRACT

This dissertation examines the history of the early medieval city Ye 鄴 and its place in the literary tradition. Ye was the powerbase of the warlord Cao Cao 曹操 (155–220) and the birthplace of the Jian’an 建安 literature. It was also the capital city of the Later Zhao 後趙 (319–349), the Former Yan 前燕 (337–370), the Eastern Wei 東魏 (534–550), and the Northern Qi 北齊 (550–577). Through a contextualized close reading of a variety of literary and historical texts, including poems, prose, scholar notes, and local gazetteers, this study shows how Ye, destroyed in 580, continued to live on in various forms of representation and material remains, and continued to evolve as an imagined space that held multiple interpretations. The interpretations are represented in works that treat the heroic enterprise of Cao Cao in founding the city, the double-sided poems that collapsed celebration and themes of carpé diem in the Jian'an era, and in tropes of sorrow and lamentation on the glories, or ruins, of the city that had passed its life in a brilliant flash, and then was lost to time and text. Ye’s most iconic structure, the Bronze Bird Terrace, developed a distinct terrace-scape, a nearly mythical space where poets tangled with questions of sorrow, consciousness after death, and lamentation for women forced to serve their lord long after his demise. The last material vestiges of the city, its tiles which were shaped into inkstones, created a discourse in the Song and Yuan periods of heavy censure of Cao Cao's exercise of power and his supposed eventual failure of ambition and retreat to concern over meaningless material possessions. Over the years, these representations have seen in Ye a fertile ground, either experienced or imagined, where questions about political rise and fall and about the meaning of human life could be raised and partially answered. This dissertation looks closely at the ambivalent attitudes of writers through the ages about, and at their sometimes ambiguous representation of, the status and meaning of that ancient city.

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2016

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Silk and Sacrifice: Gender, Death, and Adaptation in Two Chinese Literary Traditions

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This dissertation explores the relationship between expressions of female virtue—predominantly chastity—and violence within two popular early Chinese literary traditions: Qiu Hu 秋胡 and Han Peng 韓朋. Both tales were in circulation by the Western Han (206 BCE–24 CE) and depict

This dissertation explores the relationship between expressions of female virtue—predominantly chastity—and violence within two popular early Chinese literary traditions: Qiu Hu 秋胡 and Han Peng 韓朋. Both tales were in circulation by the Western Han (206 BCE–24 CE) and depict husbands and wives torn apart by conflict—the victims of drama instigated by men—and ultimately end with the righteous suicides of their female leads. Testifying to their enduring popularity, these stories were adapted by poets and prose writers alike, including prominent figures such as Fu Xuan, Yan Yanzhi, Li Shangyin, and Shi Junbao, as well as unknown composers of works discovered at Dunhuang. The results of their labor—poems, prose, and even a Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) stage adaptation—demonstrate the flexibility of these traditions as a means of exploring contemporary concerns regarding female integrity and talent, the dangers of beauty, women’s roles in the family, as well as socio-economic issues. By providing the first study of the portrayal of women within these influential traditions across genre and time, this dissertation not only contributes to the understanding of both tales as elite representations of idealized femininity, but also highlights how such popular traditions were subject to competing pressures of social norms, genre, and audience expectation. By examining and contrasting these disparate works, this study argues that these traditions were less singular tales that owed their existence to any given work than they were a broad collection of topoi that could be shuffled into differing configurations to meet the need of a given author at a given moment.

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Date Created
2021

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Listening to the ghostly genius: the auditory depiction in Li He's poetry

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Li He (790-816), an outstanding poet full of literary talent in

classical Chinese poem history, his poignant words, incredible literary construction, nether artistic conception and nuanced peculiar poem style owned him the reputation of “ghostly, demonic genius” 鬼才. Scholars demonstrated that

Li He (790-816), an outstanding poet full of literary talent in

classical Chinese poem history, his poignant words, incredible literary construction, nether artistic conception and nuanced peculiar poem style owned him the reputation of “ghostly, demonic genius” 鬼才. Scholars demonstrated that his ghostly and demonic style has much to do with the special imagery and allusion in his poetry. However, this kind of ghostly appeal of literature exactly have much to do with the large quantity of sensory vocabulary that the poet is expert in using in his poems, which evokes resonance from the readers/audiences. Li He fuses visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory and tactile sensation in his poems, building up his special writing style, evoking and creating a sensorial space for readers. The thesis concentrates on analyzing the sensory vocabulary in Li He’s poetry, sonic depiction in particular, which are rarely discussed before, based on which making further conclusion about the artistic conception and the special style of Li He’s poetry.

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Date Created
2015

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Angry Men, Angry Women: Patience, Righteousness, and the Body in Late Imperial Chinese Literature

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So far, love and desire have preoccupied scholarly inquiries into the emotional landscape in late imperial China. However, the disproportional focus diminishes the complexity and interdisciplinarity of the emotional experiences during this period. Alternatively, this dissertation seeks to contextualize the

So far, love and desire have preoccupied scholarly inquiries into the emotional landscape in late imperial China. However, the disproportional focus diminishes the complexity and interdisciplinarity of the emotional experiences during this period. Alternatively, this dissertation seeks to contextualize the understudied emotion of anger and uses it as a different entry point into the emotional vista of late imperial China. It explores the stimuli that give rise to anger in late imperial Chinese fiction and drama, as well as the ways in which these literary works configure the regulation of that emotion. This dissertation examines a wide range of primary materials, such as deliverance plays, historical romance, domestic novels, and so forth. It situates these literary texts in reference to Quanzhen Daoist teachings, orthodox Confucian thought, and medical discourse, which prescribe the rootedness of anger in religious trials, ritual improprieties, moral dubiousness, and corporeal responses. Simultaneously, this dissertation reveals how fiction and drama contest the presumed righteousness of anger and complicate the parameters construed by the above-mentioned texts through editorial intervention, paratextual negotiation, and cross-genre adaptation. It further teases out the gendering of anger, particularly within the discourse on the four obsessions of drunkenness, lust, avarice, and qi. The emotion’s gendered dimension bears upon the approaches that literary imagination adopts to regulate anger, including patience, violence, and silence. The body of either the angry person or the target of his or her fury stands out as the paramount site upon which the diverse ways of coping with the emotion impinge. Ultimately, this dissertation enriches the current understanding of the emotional experiences in late imperial China and demonstrates anger as a prominent nodal point upon which various strands of discourse converge.

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2020