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Poetry as Evidence: Fragmentation of Self and Discourse in the Nineteenth Century

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School of Chinese Distinguished Lecture Series

Poetry as Evidence:
Fragmentation of Self and Discourse in the Nineteenth Century

Speaker: Professor Xiaofei Tian (Harvard University)
Moderator: Professor Shu-mei Shih

May 7, 2015 (Thursday), 4:30-6:00 pm
CPD-2.37, Centennial Campus, HKU
English and Putonghua

Late imperial Chinese culture was a theater culture, and the metaphor of theater had a large intellectual significance for social life.  This talk argues that poetry writing became part of the cultural role-playing in the nineteenth century, and that the multiplicity of roles assumed by a member of the cultural elite, roles carefully kept apart from one another, demonstrates a strange self-dismemberment and the failure of the neo-Confucian vision of a unified self. How was this fragmentation manifested, and what did it mean for our understanding of Chinese literature?

Professor Xiaofei Tian (田曉菲) is Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University. Her major research field is the literature and cultural history of early medieval China, and she has also published extensively in late imperial, modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture. Her recent English publications include Beacon Fire and Shooting Star: The Literary Culture of the Liang (502-557), Visionary Journeys: Travel Writings from Early Medieval and Nineteenth-century China, and the translation, with notes and a critical introduction, of a late nineteenth-century memoir, The World of a Tiny Insect: A Memoir of the Taiping Rebellion and Its Aftermath (2014).  She is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Classical Chinese Literature (1000 BCE-900 CE) and A New Literary History of Modern China. She was a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at Harvard University in 2012-2013.

All are welcome
http://www.hku.hk/chinese/poster/20150507.pdf [1]

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