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  • The Discourse on Foxes and Ghosts

The Discourse on Foxes and Ghosts

Leo Tak-hung Chan

English , 1998/11 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature

229 x 152 mm , 372pp ISBN : 978-962-201-749-8

  • US$32.00

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The Discourse on Foxes and Ghosts: Ji Yun and Eighteenth-Century Literati Storytelling takes as its subject the eighteenth-century zhiguai (stories of the strange). The focus is on Ji Yun's (1724-1805) Random Jottings at the Cottage of Close Scrutiny (Yuewei caotang biji), but extensive reference is also made to other collections published at about the same time and earlier works in the genre, from the Six Dynasties down to the Ming. Individual chapters deal with the prefaces penned by the compilers, which reveal a variety of motives behind the compiling efforts: the ongoing tradition of conversational narratives, which constitutes a context for understanding the eighteenth-century tales; the ideological nature of the stories, manipulated by both sceptics and supermaturalists to present views on the existence of ghosts and fox-spirits; and the attempts made by storytellers to recast the stories in the prevalent modes of intellectual discourse in the late Qianlong era. Most particularly, the zhiguai in Random Jottings at the Cottage of Close Scrutiny reveal a keen concern among members of the elite, who are the storytellers in the first place, to offer messages of moral edification.

Leo Tak-hung Chan is Associate Professor of Translation at Lingnan College, Hong Kong. He is the author of five books and numerous articles and translations.

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