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Title: From Shanhai Jing to Liaozhai Zhiyi : towards a morphology of classical Chinese supernatural fiction
Author: Zhao, Xiaohuan
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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The present research is an attempt at a morphological analysis of classical Chinese supernatural fiction known as zhiguai under the theoretical framework designed by Vladimir Propp and later developed by Alan Dundes. As to the study of Chinese zhiguai tales, mountains of work has been done, but research is usually confined either to exploration into the geographical-historical sources of these tales or to the recognition and reconstruction of society in ancient China. It is therefore believed that a systematic study of zhiguai literature from a linguistics-oriented structuralfunctional perspective will shed light on the rules governing the textual organisation of classical Chinese fiction of the supernatural and strange. This thesis will be divided into two parts with the first one aiming at a diachronic survey of zhiguai literature. In this section, the origins of this genre and its development through dynasties in traditional China will be explored with attention focused on an evidential and thematic study of zhiguai works most influential and representative of the time and of the author as well. Part Two, which will start with a review of Propp's morphological method and model, is devoted to a synchronic study of Chinese zhiguai fiction from a Proppian perspective. For each tale text selected for morphological analysis, functions will be identified, and a linear functional scheme presented, and described in terms of the sequence of functions and the distribution of functions among dramatis personae. All the structural and functional traits will be tabulated, discussed and, where possible and necessary, compared. Finally, based on a data analysis, a conclusion will be made on morphological features and structural patterns of classical Chinese fiction of the supernatural and strange. Fifty zhiguai tales will be selected for analysis from ancient zhushu (commentaries), leishu (categorised books), congshu (collectanea), or authoritative modern editions of works of supernatural fiction in classical Chinese. In the course of selection, priority has been given to those about other/supernatural beings or mortals with supernatural power as classified by Aarne as "Tales of magic" in conformity with Propp's corpus of Russian fairy tales in Morphology ofthe Folktale.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available