Bookbeat: June 2011

Ming Erotic Novellas: Genre, Consumption, and Religiosity in Cultural Practice Ming Erotic Novellas: Genre, Consumption, and Religiosity in Cultural Practice

Richard G. Wang, Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Available from Columbia University Press

Richard Wang's Ming Erotic Novellas is path breaking in its attention to a virtually ignored body of literature that certainly influenced the writing of the Jin Ping Mei, the Sanyan vernacular stories, and most likely Li Yu's fiction. Compared to other titles in the field, this is the first scholarly monograph in any language to contextualize the erotic novellas of late imperial China. Moreover, existing studies in this area have tended to concentrate on a limited number of works of Chinese erotic fiction, or have only brushed up against these works tangentially during more general discussion of Ming and Qing literature. Ming Erotic Novellas adopts a provocative approach to fiction, moving beyond the traditional textual analyses of gender politics and the qing cult, and examining these erotic novellas as a new genre within the contexts of print culture, readership, consumption patterns, as well as religious dimensions.

Ming Erotic Novellas focuses on a group of mid to late Ming literary (wenyan) novellas, which are all stories of erotic romance. These novellas include a profusion of poems mixed with prose narratives that are characterized by "simple" literary Chinese, with a tendency toward the vernacular. Their plots are complex, with some running 20,000 characters or more, allowing for nuanced character development, rich dialogue, and psychological description.

Circulated widely during the Ming, the novellas had a significant impact on later erotic and "scholar-beauty" (caizi jiaren) novels. This particular group of novellas was of great importance in the development of Chinese fiction, functioning as a transitional link between the classical tale to the vernacular novel. By approaching these works through the lens of a cultural study, Wang is able to explore the social functions of the novellas as well as their significance in the development of Chinese fiction in the Ming cultural context.

Les Voies du FrancaisCet “autres” qui nous distingue. Tendances communautaires et parcours individuels dans le système des pronoms en français québécois

by Helene Blondeau

Available through Presses de l'Université Laval
( ISBN: 978-2-7637-8933-0)

In her new book, sociolinguist Helene Blondeau, professor of French and Linguistics, traces a linguistic change in progress affecting the usage of pronouns in Quebec French. Her real time analysis of the linguistic variation observable in authentic spoken French corpora collected during the 20th Century examines the contribution of individuals to change affecting the community as a whole.

"Typiques du français parlé au Québec, les formes pronominales composées nous autres, vous autres et eux autres entrent en concurrence avec leurs formes simples correspondantes nous, vous, eux et elles. Cet ouvrage lève le voile sur le changement affectant cette variable sociolinguistique, non seulement à l’échelle de la communauté tout entière, mais également chez les individus au cours de leur vie. L’étude suit en temps réel le développement de ce marqueur sociolinguistique à partir de différents ensembles de données orales authentiques recueillies tout au cours du XXe siècle.  Comment peut-on situer ce changement linguistique particulier dans la dynamique affectant l’ensemble du système pronominal du français québécois ? Dans quelle mesure les individus peuvent-ils participer aux changements linguistiques affectant leur communauté ?"


Click here for two-page information about the book (PDF)

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