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How was the concept of 'personality' perceived in (late-imperial) China? Re-constructing the main features describing the individual, this volume, firmly based in textual sources, is a reflection on personality and its attributes in China.
It discusses terms that express the propensity, inclinations, predispositions, and temperament of subjects, departing from the descriptions that represent one’s and the other’s self, as well as terms that describe or label a person's main qualities or defects. As judgments contribute to formulate the image of ourselves and others, when talking of personality not only individual characters (biological traits, cultural basis, innate and acquired traits and habits) are looked into, but also social values and collective mentality, as well as individual and group subjectivity.
Although the preface says that the tales in this collection of supernatural stories should not be taken seriously and just aim to dispel boredom, Zibuyu is a work with different reading levels, which allows to uncover several deep trends, taboos and fantasies of late imperial intellectual circles. Disgust, surprise and laughter are constantly evoked, by continually attracting and repulsing the reader.
Yuan Mei’s approach guides the reader to an adventure in the dangerous recesses of the self. It is a sort of allegoric fantastic reflection on the relative and polyphonic essence of human beings, the multiplicity of selves from psychological perception, and a challenge to the traditional biographical and historical perspective for the unreliability of destiny. Dreams, madness, delusions and other extreme cognitive and affective conditions, abnormal events, gods and spirits, and the dark world of death lead to a reversal of perspective and destroy the Apollonian vision of the social-centered Confucian orthodoxy.
With introduction, translation and comments.
An Interdisciplinary Textual Research on Ming and Qing Sources
This is the long-awaited first book-form result of the author’s pioneering interdisciplinary research on a key problem for understanding Chinese texts, and, therewith, China: its ways of expression of emotions and states of mind.
Relying on his immense database on (mostly) Ming and Qing sources, the author here presents the first truly solid, source-based survey on the subject.
After analysing the methodological problems involved, the volume focuses on contradictions between official values on the one hand, and practical compromises between individual appetitive energies and personal tendencies for wealth and gratification of desires on the other hand. It analyses the negotiating process between the rigid ethical codes and dynamic social changes, as well as how social control influences the cognitive elements of emotions, both in restraining personal passions and promoting the "virtuous sentiments".
In: Ming Qing Yanjiu
In: Ming Qing Yanjiu
In: Ming Qing Yanjiu
In: Ming Qing Yanjiu