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Title: Biographical rhetorics : narrative and power in Yuanshi biography
Author: Humble, Geoffrey Frank
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 1342
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2018
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The Yuanshi (Yuan History)- a Chinese-language account of Mongol rule in East Asia compiled in haste between 1368 and 1370-presents hundreds of liezhuan biographical narratives on imperial subjects. Vital primary sources for reconstructing Mongol and Chinese history, these are viewed as chaotic texts receiving limited rhetorical input Taking the 4 7 subjects of an influential fourteenth-century biographical collection as a sample, this study demonstrates the considerable rhetorical fashioning undergone by some of these biographies, exposing narrative tools employed by the fourteenth-century Chinese historian-compiler. Starting from a case study on the biographies of Yelü Chucai (1189-1243), we identify three themes to the compilers' edits, which three thematic chapters follow across the sample texts. The first of these sees narrative scope narrowed, marginalizing non-'Chinese' elements of the imperium to impose a 'Yuan' shape on Mongol East Asia. The second situates bureaucratic governing institutions as a moral good, imposing a negative positioning on rival approaches. Finally, we demonstrate the characterization of the deserving populace as beneficiaries of moral rule. Though none of these themes emerge in full coherence across the work, the broad tendencies are clear, as is the all-embracing, shaping influence of the storytelling imperative toward vivid juxtaposition of ideal and deviant.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Taiwan Ministry of Education ; Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DS Asia ; PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania