Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Chinese Literati in the Garden: Gendered Space and Mythical Escape


English Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


Chinese literatis longing for a utopian existence may be divided into two types: one is an inward-bound idealism with this-worldly ethics, statecraft, and active cultivation; the other is an outward-bound flight seeking other-worldly lands of recluses, immortals, or spiritual salvation. The former is rooted in the Confucian vision of cultivating a morally perfect society to create a world of taiping (universal peace). The second is the Daoist aspiration for individual freedom and transcendence. In mythical texts, such as the Classic of Mountains and Seas, a place called Xuanpu (Hanging Garden or Mysterious Garden) or Pingpu (Garden of Peace), situated in the mythical Kunlun Mountain (a Chinese Mount Olympus), is depicted as a garden paradise. This presentation examines the Chinese literati tradition of garden gathering as a utopian escape and the role of gender in this tradition.

Conference Name

110th PAMLA Annual Conference

Conference Location

Seattle, WA

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