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

Description

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

Description

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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Reading resonance in Tang tales: allegories and beyond

Description

As many modern scholars have warned, the complexity of Tang narratives is far

beyond the reach of Lu Xun’s twentieth-century generic labels. Therefore, we should have

an acute awareness of the earlier limiting view of these categorizations, and our research

should transcend the

As many modern scholars have warned, the complexity of Tang narratives is far

beyond the reach of Lu Xun’s twentieth-century generic labels. Therefore, we should have

an acute awareness of the earlier limiting view of these categorizations, and our research

should transcend the limitations of these views in regard to this extensive corpus or to being

confined to rigid and meager reading of the richness of the stories. This dissertation will

use a transdisciplinary methodology that incorporates both history and literature in close

reading of seven Tang tales composed in the mid-to-late Tang eras (780s–early 900s), to

break the boundaries between the two generic labels, chuanqi and zhiguai, and unearth

significant configurations within these literary texts that become apparent only through

stepping across genre.

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2017

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Playing Roles: Literati, Playwrights, and Female Performers in Yuan Theater

Description

This dissertation investigates how Yuan zaju drama reshaped Chinese culture by bridging the gap between an inherently oral tradition of popular performance and the written tradition of literati, when traditional Chinese political, social, cultural structures underwent remarkable transformation under alien

This dissertation investigates how Yuan zaju drama reshaped Chinese culture by bridging the gap between an inherently oral tradition of popular performance and the written tradition of literati, when traditional Chinese political, social, cultural structures underwent remarkable transformation under alien rule in the Yuan. It focuses on texts dated from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century by literati writers about playwrights and performers that have been treated by most scholars merely as sources of bio-bibliographical information. I interpret them, however, as cultural artifacts that reveal how Yuan drama caused a shift in the mentality of the elite. My study demonstrates that Yuan drama stimulated literati thought, redefined literati self-identity, and introduced a new significance to the act of writing and the function of text. Moreover, the emergence of a great number of successful female performers challenged the gendered roles of women that had been standardized by the traditional Confucian patriarchal system. This careful uncovering of overlooked materials contributes to a better understanding of the social and cultural world of early modern China.

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2019

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

Description

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

Description

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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Jōjin’s Travels in Northern Song China: Performances of Place in the Travel Diary A Record of a Pilgrimage to Tiantai and Wutai Mountains

Description

In 1072 Jōjin (1011-1081) boarded a Chinese merchant ship docked in Kabeshima (modern Saga) headed for Mingzhou (modern Ningbo) on the eastern coast of Northern Song (960-1279) China. Following the convention of his predecessors, Jōjin kept a daily record of

In 1072 Jōjin (1011-1081) boarded a Chinese merchant ship docked in Kabeshima (modern Saga) headed for Mingzhou (modern Ningbo) on the eastern coast of Northern Song (960-1279) China. Following the convention of his predecessors, Jōjin kept a daily record of his travels from the time he first boarded the Chinese merchant ship in Kabeshima to the day he sent his diary back to Japan with his disciples in 1073.

Jōjin’s diary in eight fascicles, A Record of a Pilgrimage to Tiantai and Wutai Mountains (San Tendai Godaisan ki), is one of the longest extant travel accounts concerning medieval China. It includes a detailed compendium of anecdotes on material culture, flora and fauna, water travel, and bureaucratic procedures during the Northern Song, as well as the transcription of official documents, inscriptions, Chinese texts, and lists of personal purchases and official procurements. The encyclopedic nature of Jōjin’s diary is highly valued for the insight it provides into the daily life, court policies, and religious institutions of eleventh-century China. This dissertation addresses these aspects of the diary, but does so from the perspective of treating the written text as a material artifact of placemaking.

The introductory chapter first contextualizes Jōjin’s diary within the travel writing genre, and then presents the theoretical framework for approaching Jōjin’s engagement with space and place. Chapter two presents the bustling urban life in Hangzhou in terms of Jōjin’s visual and material consumption of the secular realm as reflected in his highly illustrative descriptions of the night markets and entertainers. Chapter three examines Jōjin’s descriptions of sacred Tendai sites in China, and how he approaches these spaces with a sense of familiarity from the textual milieu that informed his movements across this religious landscape. Chapter four discusses Jōjin’s impressions of Kaifeng and the Grand Interior as a metropolitan space with dynamic functions and meanings. Lastly, chapter five concludes by considering the means by which Jōjin’s performance of place in his diary further contributes to the collective memory of place and his own sense of self across the text.

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Date Created
2018

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From Hangzhou to Lin'an: history, space, and the experience of urban living in narratives from Song Dynasty China

Description

This dissertation uncovers the contemporary impressions of Song cities represented in Song narratives and their accounts of the interplay between people and urban environments. It links these narratives to urban and societal changes in Hangzhou 杭州 (Lin’an 臨安) during the

This dissertation uncovers the contemporary impressions of Song cities represented in Song narratives and their accounts of the interplay between people and urban environments. It links these narratives to urban and societal changes in Hangzhou 杭州 (Lin’an 臨安) during the Song dynasty, cross-referencing both literary creations and historical accounts through a close reading of the surviving corpus of Song narratives, in order to shed light on the cultural landscape and social milieu of Hangzhou. By identifying, reconstructing, and interpreting urban changes throughout the “pre-modernization” transition as well as their embodiments in the narratives, the dissertation links changes to the physical world with the development of Song narratives. In revealing the emerging connection between historical and literary spaces, the dissertation concludes that the transitions of Song cities and urban culture drove these narrative writings during the Song dynasty. Meanwhile, the ideologies and urban culture reflected in these accounts could only have emerged alongside the appearance of a consumption society in Hangzhou. Aiming to expand our understanding of the literary value of Song narratives, the dissertation therefore also considers historical references and concurrent writings in other genres. By elucidating the social, spatial, and historical meanings embedded in a variety of Song narrative accounts, this study details how the Song literary narrative corpus interprets the urban landscapes of the period’s capital city through the private experiences of Song authors. Using a transdisciplinary methodology, it situates the texts within the cultural milieu of Song society and further reveals the connections of these narratives to the transformative process of urbanization in Song society.

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2017

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The Social Life of Texts: Reading Zhuang Chuo’s 莊綽 (fl. 1126) Jilei bian 雞肋編 (Chicken Rib Chronicles)

Description

This dissertation argues that scholars need to re-evaluate the place of miscellany in the textual tradition. Through a dynamic close-reading of Zhuang Chuo’s 莊綽 (fl. 1126) Jilei bian 雞肋編 (Chicken Rib Chronicles), using its preface as a guide, this project

This dissertation argues that scholars need to re-evaluate the place of miscellany in the textual tradition. Through a dynamic close-reading of Zhuang Chuo’s 莊綽 (fl. 1126) Jilei bian 雞肋編 (Chicken Rib Chronicles), using its preface as a guide, this project demonstrates that the value of this text lies not in its historical truth, but in the author’s analyses of historical themes, spoken word, and personal experiences alongside his engagement with the textual tradition and intellectual discourses in the wider scholarly community. Rethinking the way that Song dynasty authors of miscellany create meaning and also the purpose of this corpus allows readers to approach them holistically and creates the potential for multiple readings.

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Date Created
2016

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

Description

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