The Author's Two Bodies: Paratext in Early Chinese Textual Culture
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CitationDu, Heng. 2018. The Author's Two Bodies: Paratext in Early Chinese Textual Culture. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation addresses the contentious issue of early authorship by proposing a new set of methodologies developed out of an engagement with both manuscript and transmitted sources. To tackle the questions of what constitutes a text and what constitutes an author in pre-imperial China (before 211 BCE), I adapt and expand the concept of “paratext,” namely the materials enveloping the main text such as titles, book covers, author names, and prefaces. In addition to demonstrating the role of paratext in demarcating textual boundaries, I also develop a system of criteria for identifying hitherto unrecognized forms of paratexts in early sources, such as the reiterations of zi yue (the Master said), branching catalogues, and author anecdotes. Reading these features as paratextual language helps uncover new evidence that shows how early textual producers sought to circumscribe words as textual units. While many scholars dismiss early author attributions as apocryphal, I argue that the representations of author figures, real or putative, perform an instrumental role in defining and delimiting both a text and a corpus. My case studies straddle the transition into the imperial period, from aphorism and anecdotes preserved in bamboo manuscripts (c. 300 BCE), to excavated and received compilations such as the Yinqueshan Sunzi bingfa, Zhuangzi, Hanfeizi, and the Chuci zhangju. In my final chapter, I trace the intriguing motif revolving around a zero-sum game between the author’s physical body and literary corpus.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41128462
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