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Title: Reimagining the vernacular story : textual roles, didacticism, and entertainment in Erpai
Author: Macdonald, Alastair Ewan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 0900
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis studies the late Ming vernacular short story collections Pai'an jingqi (Slapping the Table in Amazement) and Erke pai'an jingqi (Slapping the Table in Amazement Volume Two), together known as Erpai (Two Slaps). They were written by Ling Mengchu (1580-1644), who was heavily inspired by Feng Menglong's (1574-1646) genre-defining Sanyan (Three Words) collections. Through close textual analysis, this thesis argues that the overriding focus on the 'functional effect' (entertainment and didacticism) of the stories represents a reimagining of the genre given shape to by Feng. In place of Feng's concern for the literary respectability and perceived popular origins of the texts, Ling focuses on the entertaining and didactic effects of the stories on their audience. This reimagining is primarily manifested in Ling's manipulation of the three textual roles of writer, commentator, and storyteller to privilege the functional effect of the collections. The textual analysis is focused on these three roles. Chapter One introduces the historical context, Ling Mengchu's life, the genre of huaben fiction, the Erpai collections, the way Ling conceived fiction. The literature review rounds off this chapter. Chapter Two examines the question of the intended audience of the collections. Chapter Three examines the use of textual roles in prioritising the didacticism of the collections, making use of the communicative theoretical framework of ventriloquism. Chapter Four examines the use of textual roles in prioritising the entertainment value of the collections. Chapter Five compares the use of textual roles in Sanyan with that in Erpai, demonstrating the differences in approach between the works. Finally, the Afterword considers the implications and influences of Ling's reimagining of the vernacular story.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral