Posts Categorized: Ming-Qing Fiction

Liberia By Way of Beijing: The Appeal of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Late Qing China

So here’s a question for you: why was one of the most popular books in the late Qing Dynasty (1895-1911) a translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Lee and Rob attempt to answer this question, and along the way discuss matters of representation and legal rights in America and China.

Shen Xiu’s Little Bird Causes Seven Deaths This week, we are getting back to our roots. Some of the earliest podcasts we did were on the huaben (話本) story. The very first podcast we posted (we recorded others before, but we canned them because they weren’t good enough) was a huaben  that we called Of Gods and Telescopes. We also did the gender-bending huaben Male Mencius’…read more

And They Lived Happily Ever After…

In today’s podcast, we return to the Historian of the Weird, that is the late, great Pu Songling. Previously, we did a podcast on his touching love story about a man and his rock. This time, we take a look at an equally ‘touching’ love story, though here, we are talking about bad touch. In the story…read more

Journey Even MORE to the West: The Xi You Bu

In this second of two podcasts on the Journey to the West, Lee discusses his work on a very strange, and very understudied, addendum to the original Journey to the West, written some time later. It turns the original’s focus inward, presenting multiple layers of reality.     

Journey to the West

  The 100 chapter picaresque novel Journey to the West (西游记) is one of the “four classic works” of Chinese literature. It is also one of the most popular pieces of writing in the Chinese language. With guest Brandon Folse, we talk about its enduring popularity, curious structure, and baroque approach to names.    …read more

Of Gods and…More Gods: Idle Talk Under the Bean Arbor

  One of the earliest, and certainly fullest, examples of the frame story is the  collection Idle Talk Under the Bean Arbor. Through a series of stories told by a group of people sheltering from the heat under a bean arbor, everything from karmic justice to the end of the world is discussed. We welcome a guest, Lindsey…read more

A Male Mencius’ Mother

On today’s podcast, Rob and Lee discuss a story that is relevant to today’s America as much as it is to  China: Male Mencius’ Mother, a sort of medieval Chinese version My Two Dads. In the story of A Male Mencius’ Mother, we find ourselves in Fujian, on the edge of Chinese civilization, purportedly an…read more

Censure and Celebration: Jiang Xingge Re-Encounters His Pearl Shirt

  One of the most acclaimed 话本 (hua ben – vernacular short stories) in Feng Menglong’s 1620 collection Stories Old and New (tr. Yang Shuhui and Yang Yunqin). We discuss the question of irony in a story about both marital and extramarital bliss, and explore the reasons behind the story’s famously racy details.        …read more

Of Gods and Telescopes: Li Yu’s A Tower for the Summer Heat

Want a shortcut to immortality? Get a telescope! Or at least that’s the scenario posed by Li Yu’s classic 1657 story Tower for the Summer Heat《夏宜樓》. We’ll also take a closer look at the notions of cultural “inside” and “outside” spaces that inform Chinese social discourse to this day.