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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 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.
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.
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.