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Title: Narrative art in the Ming Dynasty novel, with special reference to Shuihu Zhuan, Xiyou Ji and Jin Ping Mei
Author: Ryder, Amanda Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 3543 6718
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 1989
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The thesis is concerned with the structure and style of the three Ming dynasty novels, Shuihu zhuan, Xiyou ji and Jin Ping Mei. Clearly, these novels are not as simple as they seem - there are multiple levels of interpretation. By using the conventions of form and style the author/narrator manipulates the oral storytelling tradition in order that he may engage in a discourse with the reader. Chapter One looks briefly at the origins of and the influence of other forms on the Ming novel, particularly oral storytelling, drama and historiography. It also looks at the question of readership, concluding that Shuihu zhuan, Xiyou ji and Jin Ping Mei, while imitating popular forms, were written for educated readers. Chapter Two examines structure, first breaking down the novel into its constituent parts, then analysing the methods of composition. It shows that plot is of limited importance and that digression from the plot is the basic structural principle. The looseness of the structure enables structural patterns to be imposed on the narrative. These patterns are one of the ways by which the author/narrator communicates with the reader. Chapter Three analyses the use of language, looking in particular at the classical-vernacular mix; the attention paid to sentence rhythms in order to achieve subtlety and depth of expression: the function of verse and parallel prose; and the use of formulaic language. Chapter Four looks at how the details of the fictional world - setting, characters, and so forth - are presented. In doing so it shows that although realism was not an effect valued for its own sake there are realist passages in the novels. The author/narrator has total and obvious control over the narrative, and any such literary mode or device is simply taken up or abandoned according to the needs of the narratorial presence or the needs of the writer's communication with the reader. Chapter Five considers in detail the relationship between the writer, the narrator, and the reader. Frequent changes in point of view and variation of aesthetic distance produce irony, and as a result several levels of meaning can be discerned.
Supervisor: Jenner, W. J. F. ; Rimmington, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature