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EAS Postgraduate Research Seminar

When Nov 15, 2016
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Old Divinity School, St John's College
Contact Name
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Independence and Investigations: The Significant Awareness to Hergé from The Blue Lotus

Pan Zhiyiuan
Ph.D. Candidate in Chinese Studies, University of Cambridge

The Blue Lotus (1934) from The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé has been seen as a big leap from its precedents, especially in the aspects of exceptional standpoint and strong voice towards political events. However, such statement needs to be qualified, as an examination of the historical and biographical background of Hergé shows that this work ironically didn't break too far away from the previous limitations. Admitting the inadequacy, I would argue that the significance of The Blue Lotus lies in its implications on the working philosophy to Hergé. Contextualising this work as well as putting it in the whole Tintin series, I purpose that it provided Hergé with two significant elements, independent opinion and scrupulous investigation, that elevated Tintin afterwards to a new level. Even though he could not always fully convey those principles in the cartoon nor in his own political choice, particularly during WWII, such awareness remained crucial in reminding him of his own conscious and conscience in a turbulent time period. This analysis could serve to better understand the historical situations in Belgium, and make sense of the significance of the exposure to alternative culture in the early 20th century.

Legitimising Xianglianti Poetry: The Early Reception of Wang Cihui’s (1593-1642) Yiyu ji as a Case Study

Lucrezia Botti, Ph.D. Candidate in Chinese Studies, SOAS, University of London

The literary label xianglianti 香奩體 (fragrant dressing case style) refers to a thematic category of traditional Chinese poetry which focuses on the sensual and aesthetic aspects of love and women. Praised by Yuan Mei袁枚 (1716-1797) as a “fragrant dressing case masterpiece” (xianglian juediao 香奩絕調), Wang Cihui’s 王次回 (1593-1642) Yiyu ji 疑雨集 (Doubtful Rain Collection) is one of the most representative late imperial collections of xianglianti poetry. 

In a tradition where the supposed aim of shi 詩 poetry was to reflect the author’s interiority and moral stance, xianglianti poetry was generally perceived as frivolous and morally problematic. For this reason, many authors and admirers of this type of poetry often felt the need to find ways to legitimise and justify its production, promotion, and transmission. 

My presentation takes the early reception of Wang Cihui’s Yiyu ji as a case study for the complex and tense relationship between poetic orthodoxy and the amorous-erotic sphere in the history of traditional Chinese literature. Through close reading of Yan Shengsun’s 嚴繩孫 (1623 – 1702) and Hou Wencan’s 侯文燦 (fl. 1690) prefaces to the Yiyu ji (the earliest prefatory materials to the collection) and of a letter by Yuan Mei written in defence of Wang Cihui’s amorous-erotic verses, I will show how admirers of xianglianti poetry adopted different strategies to elevate its status and legitimise its transmission.

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Cambridge has a long and distinctive tradition in the study of the Middle East and Asia. This Faculty prides itself on exploring these fields through the local languages and encourages students to learn through real world engagement. If you are interested in these world regions and want to discover their languages, cultures, histories, religions, and politics, then this is the home for you. 


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