‘The Wuding Editions’: Printing, Power, and Vernacular Fiction in the Ming Dynasty

in East Asian Publishing and Society
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The vernacular fiction ‘novel’ is a genre typically associated with the explosion of commercial printing activity that occurred in the late sixteenth century. However, by that time, representative works such as the Shuihu zhuan and Sanguo yanyi had already been in print for several decades. Moreover, those early print editions were printed not by commercial entities but rather the elite of the Jiajing court. In order to better understand the genre as a print phenomenon, this paper explores the publishing output of one of those elites: Guo Xun (1475-1542), Marquis of Wuding. In addition to vernacular fiction, Guo printed a number of other types of books as well. This paper examines the entirety of his publishing activities in order to better contextualize the vernacular novel at this early stage in its life in print.

‘The Wuding Editions’: Printing, Power, and Vernacular Fiction in the Ming Dynasty

in East Asian Publishing and Society

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References

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16

The preface is excerpted in Xie SiweiBai Juyi ji zonglun126. Xie also includes a description of Chen Jin’s preface. I have so far been unable to access the rare editions of these works.

26

Reprinted in ZhuShuihu zhuan ziliao huibian187-90.

36

See HanXiaoshuo shufang lu5.

40

SieberTheaters98. For Li Kaixian’s circles and qu lyrics see Tan Songspassim.

41

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43

See Chen DakangMingdai xiaoshuo shi229-56.

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