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Repression and Purification: The Modes of Endings of the Stories of Wanton Women in Ming-Qing Fiction

Posted By admin On 04:41 PM In Past Events 2018-19 | Comments Disabled

2018/2019 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar

Repression and Purification: The Modes of Endings of the Stories of Wanton Women in Ming-Qing Fiction

胡子伊 Miss Hu Ziyi

March 1, 2019 (Friday); 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: Putonghua


The story of wanton women is an important subject of Ming-Qing fiction. From Water Margin to A Dream of Red Mansions, it grew abundant from the sixteenth to eighteenth century China, developing a variety of ending patterns and emotional tendencies. The pattern of miserable endings such as graphic killing and karmic consequences occupies a prominent position, suppressing the dangerous wanton women. At the same time, some endings also show the potential of purification of the wanton women characters: a few wanton women transformed from “lascivious” to “chaste” through suicide; the unpunished or happy endings in some cases weakened the negative characteristics of the adulteress, provoking readers’ tolerance. This talk examines these patterns in light of their narrative effects of “repression” or “purification”, thus to reveal the complex attitudes of male novelists towards wanton women characters, understand their constructive and rebellious nature, and finally explore the socio-cultural connotations and gender discourse behind it.


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