Expressions of Self in Chinese Literature

Expressions of Self in Chinese Literature

Expressions of Self in Chinese Literature

Expressions of Self in Chinese Literature

Excerpt

One of the more interesting panels at the twenty-ninth annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, held in New York that year, was entitled '"Expression of Selfhood in Chinese Literature." It was chaired by Joseph S. M. Lau of the University of Wisconsin; its other contributors were Anthony C. Yu of the University of Chicago, Leo O. Lee, then teaching at Indiana University, and Frances LaFleur, a Princeton graduate student. The panel's discussant was C. T. Hsia, Professor of Chinese at Columbia University.

Professor Hsia was the best possible choice for this function. His contribution to the study of Chinese literature in the West is unexcelled. His A History of Modern Chinese Fiction, 1917-1957 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961; rev. ed. 1971) was the first critical survey of this exciting field to be written in English; his The Classic Chinese Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968) quickly became the standard introduction to the great novels of China's past. He has also written numerous essays in Chinese and English on literary works and figures. But among these essays, none has attracted more attention than his own first English-language essay," "To What Fyn Lyve I Thus?'--Society and Self in the Chinese Short Story" (Kenyon Review [1962], vol. 24, no. 3; revised as an appendix to The Classic Chinese Novel). This seminal essay had opened a new window on Chinese fiction, and the . . .

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