Mar 2015, Volume 9 Issue 1

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  • research-article
    Ao WANG

    The famous Tang dynasty story “Li Zheng” tells how the hero Li Zheng, an aspiring yet socially alienated writer, found himself transformed into a weretiger in the wilderness, and how he later told his experiences to his friend Yuan Can, a travelling official, who brought Li’s writings back to the human world and supported Li’s family. A comparison between “Li Zheng” and its later adaptations show that Li Zheng’s metamorphosis from human to tiger is told in conspicuously divergent ways: Whereas adaptations cast the moment of transformation in prescribed moral or psychological perspectives, the original portrays Li’s shocking bodily changes and intensive affective process without the intervention of intentionality or cognitive response. Drawing on both developments in affect theory and on studies of Tang exilic literature, this paper aims at unraveling the inner workings of “Li Zheng.” The story’s portrayal of Li’s unexplained bodily change, along with Yuan’s untroubled acceptance of it and generosity toward Li and his family, all correspond strongly to Tang exilic literature that stresses both visceral reactions to strange environments and unwavering communal support.

  • research-article
    Satoko SHIMAZAKI

    People in Japan reacted to the bewilderment they felt at the fall of Ming by creating a bifurcated view of China, evident in encyclopedias and gazeteers: On the one hand, there was the traditional China represented by the Ming; on the other, there was the new China ruled by the Dattan or the Tatars. Such was the power of the Ming as an image that it endured in Japanese literature and theater for centuries after its fall. This article explores the preservation in popular discourse of the Ming as the most natural representation of China, focusing on Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s hit jōruri play The Battles of Coxinga (Kokusen’ya kassen), first staged in 1715 and produced many times after that, showing how the political turmoil was filtered through both misunderstandings and creative fabrications. It shows that The Battles of Coxinga creates a fantastic image of China, as opposed to the barbaric Dattan, by drawing on historical memories internal to Japan and readily available images of foreignness. I argue that the preservation of the Ming in popular theater offered audiences a means of rethinking Japan’s position as the inheritor of a “universal” Chinese essence in an age when knowledge of the world was being dramatically expanded by imported European cartography, complicating earlier views of a world centered on the Three Realms or the Sinocentric world order.

  • research-article
    Fumiko JŌO

    This article examines the literary imaginations of the White Pagoda and demonstrates a shift in its representation from a metaphor for the Song court’s fate to a fantastic site for the subjugation of unworldly beings. In the late thirteenth century, the Yuan-appointed Tibetan Buddhist monk Yang Lianzhenjia exhumed the imperial mausoleums of the defeated Southern Song, built the White Pagoda on the site of the old Southern Song palace in Hangzhou, and interred the exhumed bones under it. Enthusiastic Song loyalists thus considered the White Pagoda to be a symbol of a humiliating past in which the Mongol Yuan dynasty occupied the south. Meanwhile, Qu You, an early-Ming writer from Hangzhou, began to imagine that the White Pagoda served to pacify the innocent, lonely dead who died during the Song-Yuan social disturbance. Investigating the discourse of the early Ming literati in regard to the pagoda site and the supernatural in early Ming Hangzhou leads to the conclusion that the literary imagination of the White Pagoda would have also contributed to the development of the White Snake Legend, where a white serpent spirit was subdued under Thunder Peak Pagoda in Hangzhou.

  • research-article
    Wenjia LIU

    This article studies various means by which female characters determine their own marriages in the tanci 彈詞, Feng shuang fei 鳳雙飛, authored by a female writer, Cheng Huiying 程蕙英. It centers on case studies of the concubines in the Guo and Zhang families. Zhen Daya, who marries Guo Lingyun, builds an individual identity as a chaste, talented and determined “career woman” through her pursuit of a self-determined marriage. Zhen Xiaoya, Zhang Yishao’s concubine, establishes her subjectivity by following the cult of chastity. By creating such a character, the female writer mocks the conventions of scholar-beauty romances and rethinks the contemporary tradition of romance and marriage. The last case is the author’s strikingly sympathetic treatment of an unchaste girl, Bao Xiang’er. Although the multiple layers of voices all agree that Xiang’er is totally inappropriate and immoral according to traditional Confucian values, she, instead of being punished, still ends up being incorporated into Yishao’s family and is granted a son. These cases allow us to reevaluate Cheng Huiying, a female writer, and her views of women’s autonomy in determining their own marriages. They anticipate, either through fantasy or some level of reality, the concept of “free love” (ziyou lian’ai) so central to the May Fourth conceptions of modern women.

  • research-article
    Makiko MORI

    Su Manshu’s 苏曼殊 (1884–1918) The Lone Swan (Duanhong lingyan ji 断鸿零雁记, 1911, 1912) is best known for a sustained use of subjective voice and a thematic emphasis on tragic love. Critics have often credited the novella’s intensely tragic narrative for spearheading a new kind of literary subjectivity that became a cornerstone of modern Chinese literature as heralded by the May Fourth critics in the late 1910s and the 1920s. However, very few have examined this new subjectivity as an effect of Su’s critical engagement with a late Qing nationalist narrative. Su’s novella was an appropriation of the anti-Manchu revolutionary narrative of a nation, which hinged on a paradoxical mode of envisaging a new China through a temporal return to the past and by means of a tragic sacrifice of the individual. Following a brief analysis of Su’s early piece published in The People’s Journal (Minbao 民报), this article demonstrates how The Lone Swan elaborated on an excess of individual sacrifice, while developing the new, mourning subjectivity as a witness to the unfinished revolutionary enterprise of forging a powerful nation. Su’s narrative of cultural devastation resonates with Lu Xun’s (1881–1936) late Qing work, but, in the May Fourth period that immediately followed, this sense of despair would become an unequivocal object for overcoming.

  • research-article
    Yuping WANG

    The paper discusses the 1957 Hong Kong film The True Story of Ah Q. As a Hong Kong leftist film, its plot and production process are relevant to understanding the political and cultural life of New China. However, Hong Kong leftist cinema played an important role in the reception of New China cinema overseas; it can only be understood within the context of political and cultural life in New China. This paper explores the complicated relations between Hong Kong leftist cinema, domestic socialist cinema, and Shanghai left-wing cinema in the 1930s. In addition, it discusses The True Story of Ah Q as a film with features that identify it with both Hong Kong leftist cinema and New China cinema. Thus, the film’s acceptibility is determined by the tensions between these two identifications.