) What is meant by the conception of Plum in the Golden Vase (Jin Ping Mei) as an encyclopedic narrative? How is our assumption that a text has a single author who penned it from start to finish modified by the textual history of some of the other texts we have studied, for example, Guan Hanqing’s play “The Injustice to Dou E”?
2) The concept of an author of vernacular fiction changes a great deal over the time period we studied in the class. What kind of relation between author and text can we impute for Feng Menglong, Li Yu, and Cao Xueqin? Here we could think about their use of prior materials, the voice of the narrator, and the question of whether the text can be read as autobiographical.
3. What does the term “vernacular” mean when we are thinking about Chinese literature of the Yuan through the mid-Qing?
4. In discussing the story “The Canary Murders” we introduced the concept of “Heaven’s abacus” — the notion that there is some sort of calculation taking place on the level of heavenly design such that acts of folly engender their deserved consequences and acts of evil are ultimately met with retribution. Choosing two texts among those we have examined, describe how they put into play such a notion, such that deeds good or evil ultimately meet with their just reward. What is the relation of coincidence to Heaven’s abacus?
Each question needs 250 words