Memory in Medieval China: Text, Ritual, and Community


Volume Editors: and
Memory is not an inert container but a dynamic process. It can be structured by ritual, constrained by textual genre, and shaped by communities’ expectations and reception. Urging a particular view of the past on readers is a complex rhetorical act. The collective reception of portrayals of the past often carries weighty implications for the present and future. The essays collected in this volume investigate various aspects of memory in medieval China (ca. 100-900 CE) as performed in various genres of writing, from poetry to anecdotes, from history to tomb epitaphs. They illuminate ways in which the memory of individual persons, events, dynasties, and literary styles was constructed and revised through processes of writing and reading.
Contributors include: Sarah M. Allen, Robert Ashmore, Robert Ford Campany, Jack W. Chen, Alexei Ditter, Meow Hui Goh, Christopher M. B. Nugent, Xiaofei Tian, Wendy Swartz, Ping Wang.

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Wendy Swartz (Ph.D., UCLA) is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at Rutgers University. She has published monographs, articles, translations, and edited volumes on China, including Reading Philosophy, Writing Poetry: Intertextual Modes of Making Meaning in Early Medieval China (Harvard, 2018).

Robert Ford Campany (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor of Asian Studies and Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University. He has published books, articles, and edited volumes on China, including Making Transcendents: Ascetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China (Hawai’i, 2009).


Robert Ford Campany and Wendy Swartz

1 Artful Remembrance: Reading, Writing, and Reconstructing the Fallen State in Lu Ji’s “Bian wang”
Meow Hui Goh

2 Intertextuality and Cultural Memory in Early Medieval China: Jiang Yan’s Imitations of Nearly Lost and Lost Writers
Wendy Swartz

3 On Mourning and Sincerity in the Li jiand the Shishuo xinyu
Jack W. Chen

4 “Making Friends with the Men of the Past”: Literati Identity and Literary Remembering in Early Medieval China
Ping Wang

5 Yu Xin’s “Memory Palace”: Writing Trauma and Violence in Early Medieval Chinese Aulic Poetry
Xiaofei Tian

6 Structured Gaps: The Qianzi wen and Its Paratexts as Mnemotechnics
  Christopher M.B. Nugent

7 Genre and the Construction of Memory: A Case Study of Quan Deyu’s 權德輿 (759-818) Funerary Writings for Zhang Jian 張薦 (744–804)
Alexei Ditter

8 Figments of Memory: “Xu Yunfeng” and the Invention of a Historical Moment
Sarah M. Allen

9 The Mastering Voice: Text and Aurality in the Ninth-century Mediascape
Robert Ashmore

All interested in memory studies, remembrance, commemoration, (re)interpretation and uses of the past, and anyone interested in premodern, especially medieval, Chinese literature, history, and culture.
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