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Writing and Materiality in China: Essays in Honor of Patrick Hanan

Writing and Materiality in China: Essays in Honor of Patrick Hanan


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Speaking about Chinese writing entails thinking about how writing speaks through various media. In the guises of the written character and its imprints, traces, or ruins, writing is more than textuality. The goal of this volume is to consider the relationship of writing to materiality in China's literary history and to ponder the physical aspects of the production and circulation of writing. To speak of the thing-ness of writing is to understand it as a thing in constant motion, transported from one place or time to another, one genre or medium to another, one person or public to another.

Thinking about writing as the material product of a culture shifts the emphasis from the author as the creator and ultimate arbiter of a text's meaning to the editors, publishers, collectors, and readers through whose hands a text is reshaped, disseminated, and given new meanings. By yoking writing and materiality, the contributors to this volume aim to bypass the tendency to oppose form and content, words and things, documents and artifacts, to rethink key issues in the interpretation of Chinese literary and visual culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674010987
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 05/30/2003
Series: Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series , #58
Pages: 672
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Judith T. Zeitlin is Professor of Chinese Literature, University of Chicago.

Lydia H. Liu is Helmut F. Stern Professor of Chinese Studies, University of Michigan.

Ellen Widmer is Mayling Soong Professor of Chinese Studies and Professor of East Asian Studies at Wellesley College.

Rania Huntington is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Literature, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Kathryn Lowry is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Shang Wei is Du Family Professor of Chinese Culture at Columbia University.

Emma J. Teng is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sophie Volpp is Associate Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Eugene Y. Wang is Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.

Ellen Widmer is Mayling Soong Professor of Chinese Studies and Professor of East Asian Studies at Wellesley College.

Wu Hung is Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.

Catherine Vance Yeh is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at Boston University.

Table of Contents



Ellen Widmer



Lydia H. Liu and Judith T. Zeitlin

Part I: The Circulation of Writing

On Rubbings: Their Materiality and Historicity

Wu Hung

Disappearing Verses: Writing on Walls and Anxieties of Loss

Judith T. Zeitlin

The Literary Consumption of Actors in Seventeenth-Century China

Sophie Volpp

Part II: Print Culture and Networks of Reading

Jin Ping Mei and Late Ming Print Culture

Shang Wei

Duplicating the Strength of Feeling: The Circulation of Qingshu in the Late Ming

Kathryn Lowry

Considering a Coincidence: The "Female Reading Public" Circa 1828

Ellen Widmer

Part III: The Late Qing Periodical Press: New Images, New Fiction

The New Novel Before the New Novel: John Fryer's Fiction Contest


The Weird in the Newspaper

Rania Huntington

Creating the Urban Beauty: The Shanghai Courtesan in Late Qing Illustrations

Catherine Vance Yeh

Part IV: Ethnography, Media, and Ideology

Texts on the Right and Pictures on the Left: Reading the Qing Record of Frontier Taiwan

Emma J. Teng

Tope and Topos: The Leifeng Pagoda and the Discourse of the Demonic

Eugene Y. Wang

A Folksong Immortal and Official Popular Culture in Twentieth-Century China

Lydia H. Liu

Reference Matter


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