Session Submission Summary

Direct link:

Vernacular Textual Culture in Ming and Qing China

Sun, June 26, 3:00 to 4:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 103

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


In early twentieth century China, vernacular literature, especially novels and dramas, were promoted to the core of the literary heritage to become the basis for a new national language and literature. This instrumental focus on certain popular texts has left in the dark other parts of a much larger and more diverse landscape of vernacular textual culture that emerged due to the publishing boom and the sociocultural transformations of the late Ming and early Qing. The present panel seeks to explore aspects of this diverse textual landscape, emphasizing in particular its capacities to mediate between different social and linguistic spheres. It brings together contributions which deal in different ways with texts from a range of social and linguistic contexts, encompassing print and manuscript, northern and southern, and the late Ming to the mid Qing periods.
Yuming He takes the lead by problematizing the concept of “vernacular” as an all too common label for certain linguistic and stylistic properties of texts, exemplifying this for late Ming plays. Zhenzhen Lu studies popular character glossaries, in particular one printed work by the famous early Qing author Pu Songling, focusing on its local sounds. Roland Altenburger inquires into the insights to be gained from serious philological engagement with a text circulated in manuscript form, attributed to the same author. Yunhua Cui finally introduces two richly illustrated early-nineteenth-century Fujian imprints of ballads on folk literary legends that she contextualizes in the history of local publishing.

Area of Study

Session Organizer

Individual Presentations