Literati Storytelling in Late Medieval China

Manling Luo

  • Published: 2015. Paperback August 2016
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 240 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

Scholar-officials of late medieval China were not only enthusiastic in amateur storytelling, but also showed unprecedented interest in recording stories on different aspects of literati life. These stories appeared in diverse forms, including narrative poems, "tales of the marvelous," "records of the strange," historical miscellanies, and transformation texts. Through storytelling, literati explored their own changing place in a society that was making its final transition from hereditary aristocracy to a meritocracy ostensibly open to all. Literati Storytelling shows how these writings offer crucial insights into the reconfiguration of the Chinese elite, which monopolized literacy, social prestige, and political participation in imperial China.
Manling Luo is assistant professor of Chinese literature at Indiana University.

"A book of startling originality, which studies an area of late medieval Chinese culture that has been scanted for too long. . . . One of the most enjoyable and enlightening books I have read in years. It will reshape much of the received picture of late medieval literature and history."
-Paul W. Kroll, University of Colorado

"A masterful study of a rich corpus of narrative material. . . . A major contribution to our understanding of later Tang literary and social history."
-Ronald Egan, Stanford University

Note to Readers

1. Sovereignty: The Case of the Illustrious Emperor
2. Literati Sociality: Remembering Individuals and Community in Historical Miscellanies
3. Sexuality: Women, Literati, and Nonmarital Bonds
4. Cosmic Mobility: The Possibility and Impossibility of Moving Beyond
Conclusion: The Power and Legacies of Late Medieval Literati Storytelling

Chinese Character Glossary

"Scholars of the Tang dynasty and of Chinese narrative should certainly consult this book. Luo's ambitious range of sources and her creativity as a reader allow her to make some new, insightful arguments about the relationship between narratives and the dominant cultural interests of late medieval literati."
-Anna M. Shields, Journal of Asian Studies

"[An] original and insightful new study of late Tang narratives. . . . Literati Storytelling takes an innovative, hybrid approach to this vast and heterogeneous corpus. . . . Literati Storytelling produces important new interpretations that stress the limits of subversion in Tang romance."
-Gregory Patterson, Journal of the American Oriental Society