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Title: A study of the composition and the sources of the "Chin P'ing Mei"
Author: Hanan, Patrick
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1960
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The authenticity of parts of the novel - a question which has never been settled - is here decided by means of a close textual study. A description is given from personal observation of the early editions of the Chin P'ing Mei, several of which, accessible only in China or Japan, have not been described before. By criteria of internal consistency, narrative as well as linguistic, it is shown that the text of Chapters 53 to 57, unlike their headings, did not belong to the original work. This conclusion also makes it possible to decide how the groups of early editions are related. From an examination of the early references to the novel, new light is cast on the date of its composition, as well as on the transmission of its manuscripts. The successful dating of a letter by the poet Yuan Hung-tao proves that the novel was already in existence in 1596. This letter, together with other references, indicates that two kinds of manuscript were in circulation from 1596, one half-complete, the other virtually complete. From the second, all our extant editions ultimately derive. Only a few of the sources of the novel have hitherto been described, and then usually without any attempt at evaluation. A collective study is made here of the sources, including many which are pointed out for the first time. Each is described and assessed for its bearing on the novel. It in shown that certain works, especially drama , song, and shuo-ch'ang literature, assume great importance, and have hitherto unrecognised influence on the Chin P'ing Mei.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral