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Author: Glen Dudbridge

As the forms and range of their contemplative poetry grew to maturity, the Chinese scholarly elite took to brushing verses on the walls of buildings where society moved and gathered—temples, monasteries, bridges, places of entertainment, above all government hostels strung out along the empire-wide communication routes. The inscriptions were ephemeral, like the buildings themselves, and are no longer physically there to be read. Yet a rich literature of this verse does come down to us. This was a reflective literature, overwhelmingly locating the writer in a physical or social setting that called forth an inner response. It was also a self-conscious literature, aware of its own ephemerality as buildings fell into disrepair over time, or swiftly-changing careers brought writers into new contact with walls they had inscribed in earlier years. That such verses survive to be read in later times is because many were copied to the paper medium, transcribed into notebooks and literary collections, then printed or sanctioned in forms that survived as part of a recognized literary heritage. The present paper looks at five examples to study the random dynamics of that process.

In: East Asian Publishing and Society
In: Text, Performance, and Gender in Chinese Literature and Music
Author: Glen Dudbridge
These studies develop a more open way of reading China's traditional narrative literature, in which publishing culture, religious culture, historical circumstance and social institutions all play a part. The concept of vernacular culture is discussed in broad terms and explored through particular examples.
This volume, which marks Glen Dudbridge's retirement as Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford University, brings together fourteen of his research papers published over more than thirty years. They form three themed groups: books and publishing; medieval narrative and religious culture; vernacular culture. Each group presents a mixture of discursive pieces with more technical and empirical research, and most of the papers also have links that reach across the division into groups.
In: Critical Readings on Tang China