Realm of Shadows and Dreams: Theatrical and Fictional Lyricism in Early Qing Literature
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CitationZhao, Yingzhi. 2014. Realm of Shadows and Dreams: Theatrical and Fictional Lyricism in Early Qing Literature. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractEarly twentieth-century Chinese literary critics create a model of literary development that highlights leading genres for each dynasty. For the Ming and the Qing dynasties, these are drama and fiction. This model relegates other genres of the period, especially poetry and lyric, to a second-class status, and accounts for their less visibility in scholarly research until today. The aim of my dissertation is not to reverse the hierarchy of genres, but to break the boundaries of genres, examining the ways in which the aesthetic sensibility connected to drama and fiction is transposed to other genres and renews their conventions. The cross-genre approach used in my dissertation is supported by an overview of the literary scene of the period, when literati took up diverse roles from scholar-officials to professional dramatists, novelists, and painters, when the boundaries between "high" and "low" genres became more fluid and literati wrote across elite and popular genres, and when illustrations of printed plays and fiction, thanks to the rise of print culture, circulated widely and inspired the literati's cross-media imagination. Social practices of Ming and Qing literati, such as going to the theater, reading and writing commentary on drama and fiction, appreciating illustrations of printed plays and fiction, or listening to story-telling, translated into an awareness of the commensurability of life and theater (theatrum mundi), bringing role play, playfulness, staging, and fictional time and space to the reading and writing of other genres, creating textual and aesthetic hybridity in these latter genres. I use the term theatrical/fictional lyricism to refer to the ways in which drama and fiction, commentary on drama and fiction, and illustrations to drama and fiction change the conventions of reading and writing poetry and prose in terms of rhetoric and theme. The term also draws attention to the textual and aesthetic hybridity in these genres. Theatrical/fictional lyricism is a new form of lyricism, in which role play gives a twist to the genuine poetic voice, the records of real events gives way to self-conscious fictionality, and normal time and space merges with staged, illusory time and space.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274209
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