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Medieval Chinese Poetry, Stories, and Landscape Art (3/4)
Mittwoch, 5. Juli 2017, 18:00 bis 20:00
Vortrag “Unspeakable Acts and Suppressed Meanings in Twelfth-Century Chinese Tales”
There are plenty of stories in Hong Mai’s 洪邁collection of supernatural tales, Yijian zhi 夷堅志, that feature conventional morality and outcomes, such as divine retribution for wickedness and self-indulgence. But there is also a significant portion of the work that goes beyond these standards, treating sensitive and „awkward“ topics such as grievances toward the official class, antagonism towards Buddhist clergy, sexual desire, madness (among women), the criminal mind, and infanticide. In these stories the taboo or nearly taboo topic overshadows the tale’s outcome or denouement. The willingness to deal with such issues gives many stories a somber tone, as they detail for us some of the darker aspects of twelfth-century life that we rarely glimpse elsewhere. Among these often troubling stories, some are so sketchy on details that it is difficult to know exactly what is happening or why. Presumably, this is because the unseemly conduct or motives of the persons involved tends to give rise to a degree of narrative suppression in the telling and retelling (Hong Mai did not write these stories; he recorded tales he heard from informants). These can be the most challenging and intriguing stories for us today. This talk examines examples of such stories and tries to explore the events and meanings that they simultaneously evoke and veil. Collectively, the stories trace the boundaries of what was permissible to put into writing even as they broach conduct that lay beyond those boundaries.
Ort: Campus Westend, Casino-Gebäude, Raum Cas. 1.812