Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature: Intertextuality in The Story of the Stone

by I-Hsien Wu


“I-Hsien Wu has done brilliant work in teasing out the intertextual threads of The Story of the Stone. In a very astute manner, she examines sources drawn from performing arts and erotic fiction, identifies ideological and affective contestations, and ponders the consequences of the novel as a text in flux. Both historically informed and theoretically innovative, Wu’s book is a most important source for anyone interested in the multiple incarnations of the magnum opus of late imperial China.” —David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University

"This well-organized study offers a provocative and authoritative reading of The Story of the Stone with a focus on intertextuality—both with respect to the intertextual nature of the work itself, as well as the way in which the work alludes to processes of citation and allusion. Although the basic notion that texts may refer to one another is not particularly new, I-Hsien Wu explicitly engages with some recent trends in Western literary criticism, while at the same time drawing extensively on textual scholarship on The Story of the Stone and the socio-literary environment out of which it emerged. The theoretical grounding of the study is very solid, the study reveals a thorough knowledge of both Chinese-language and English-language on The Story of the Stone and related works. As such, this book will be welcomed by Chinese literature scholars interested in innovative approaches to familiar texts.” —Carlos Rojas, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University

Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature examines The Story of the Stone and its relationship with other narrative modes in Chinese fiction, including erotic literature, dramatic texts and performance, and scholar-beauty fiction. In doing so, I-Hsien Wu reveals a rich and fascinating intertextual dialogue between Story and earlier works in the Chinese canon. By peeling away the intertextual dance Story engages with vis-à-vis other literary genres and forms we are able to better understand several of the more overlooked qualities of what is generally considered the greatest masterpiece of Chinese fiction.” —Michael Berry, UCLA; and author of A History of Pain


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