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Title: Pu Songling and 'Liaozhai zhiyi' : a study of textual transmission, biographical background, and literary antecedents
Author: Barr, Allan Hepburn
ISNI:       0000 0000 3710 7670
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1983
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The first chapter of this thesis examines the textual transmission of Pu Songling's collection of tales, Liaozhai zhiyi, and through a study of extant manuscripts and editions concludes that in its original format the work consisted of eight volumes. After a review of evidence for dating the composition of the collection, the two volumes of earliest and latest date are identified and their contents analysed. There is traced a pattern of development from relatively simple supernatural and romantic stories in Pu's early work to more complex character configurations in the later stories, where social criticism also plays a more conspicuous role. The second chapter focuses on the life and times of Pu Songling and discusses the process by which the social realities of Shandong in the early Qing period - famine, military campaigns, bandit raids - and particular aspects of the author's personal experience - examination failure, observation of administrative abuses, professional activities, and family and personal relations - intrude persistently into his stories. Special attention is paid to Pu's examination career and the institutional factors which impeded his progress; his criticisms of the selection system are shown to be qualified by passive acquiescence. The third chapter questions conventional definitions of Liaozhai zhiyi's place in literary tradition. After a survey of the Classical tale from l500 to l700, it is demonstrated that Pu's work can be distinguished from the early-Ming story, and should be regarded as a development of existing trends in late-Ming and early-Qing fiction. In its romantic orientation, realistic detail, and prose style, Liaozhai zhiyi has a kinship with its immediate literary forebears. What links it has to vernacular fiction concern thematic and descriptive emphases rather than the occasional use of colloquialisms. Methods of determining the derivation of plots and motifs in Pu's tales are critically examined, and a distinction is drawn between analogues and written sources.
Supervisor: Dudbridge, Glen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pu, Songling, 1640-1715. Liao zhai zhi yi ; transmission ; literary ; biographical ; Pu ; textual ; Liao ; antecedents ; zhai ; zhi ; Songling ; yi