Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

A Cave Collapses into a Mountain: The Farcical and the Nonsensical in the Ming Vernacular Novel Xiyou ji

Department

Modern Languages & Literatures

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range

2010-2011

Abstract

The farcical aspects of the Ming vernacular novel Xiyou ji have not been the topic of many academic studies. Literary scholars often promote the novel as a worthy work of literature by focusing on the religious and allegorical messages in the text. However, with this critical approach, there are important aspects of the novel left unexplored. This paper is a study of two cases in Xiyou ji where the narratives comically blend the refined with the crude, and the profound with the nonsensical in both language and content. One case is a doggerel, inserted in the narrative to describe a mountain scene, in which several interesting onomatopoeic phrases are used; the other is a burlesque on the Taoist concept of Immortal Embryo where Tripitaka and Pig become pregnant in the Nation of Women. The paper offers an analysis on how the novelist borrows from the popular and the crude to tease and challenge the Ming literary and cultural conventions in these two cases.

Conference Name

Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Western Branch

Conference Location

Boulder, Colorado



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