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One Writer, Many Guises

When Feb 21, 2018
from 05:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Rooms 8 & 9
Contact Name
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China Research Seminar given by Dr Ewan MacDonald, Peterhouse, Cambridge

The writer of a Chinese vernacular story in its late Ming form played three distinct roles in the text: deciding on the events of the story, narrating the story through an obtrusive “marketplace storyteller” persona, and reacting to the events of the story through a separate, more educated “marginal commentator” persona. The resulting illusion of different agents interacting can be manipulated by the writer to heighten the didactic effect or entertainment value of the story. To demonstrate this process in action, I will refer to stories from Ling Mengchu’s (1580-1644) late Ming collection Slapping the Table in Amazement.

Ewan Macdonald is interested in Chinese narrative literature, and in particular the vernacular fiction of the late Ming and early Qing. His doctoral thesis, completed at SOAS in 2016, focuses on how the short stories of Ling Mengchu represent a turning point in the development of the vernacular short story. He joined Peterhouse College, Cambridge, as Carmen Blacker junior research fellow in October 2017.

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