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Title:Tales of the supernatural: "Liao-chai chih-i" and the American short story of the nineteenth century
Author(s):Hsieh, Yauling
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jost, Francois
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, Asian
Literature, American
Abstract:The writers of the supernatural tales present in their stories nonrational events that can be set in either the primary or the secondary world or an ambiguous region in between, such as dreamland. Whether the reader accepts these events as real ("the uncanny"), rejects them as illusory ("the marvelous"), or remains uncertain ("the fantastic"), he perceives the notion of otherness which evokes a sense of awe and wonder.
P'u Sung-ling's (sk50, 1640-1715) Liao-chai chih-i ("tales of the unusual from the Leisure Studio" or "Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio", sk50) was completed in 1707 and first printed and published in 1766. An amalgamation of earlier literary traditions represented by chih-kuai (sk30) and ch'uan-ch'i (sk30), the 494 tales in Liao-chai deal with extraordinary events and the supernatural beings of various disguise. In its incorporation of minor historical facts through painstaking research, its affirmation of the value of love and personal freedom, and its systematic but subtle criticism of the social illness and the political problems of the day, Liao-chai chih-i has created a tradition of its own.
The appearances of Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe represent the high-watermark of nineteenth-century American supernatural tales, in terms of both quantity and quality. In the form of romance, the supernatural tales of these authors bring us into a "neutral territory" where shadow and ambiguity are emphasized. Out of the thin fabric of American society and the thinner fabric of American legend, these authors stitched together a new and vital kind of fiction which coordinates European folklore and Gothicism, myths and legends of the whole world, as well as psychological explorations into the American experience.
In discussing the representative tales of the supernatural by P'u Sung-ling and Irving, Hawthorne and Poe, a thematic approach is adopted in this dissertation. The first part of this dissertation deals with the supernatural tales of love by the above authors with minor themes such as the concept of retribution, reincarnation and resurrection, obsession and madness, transformation and metempsychosis. The second part concentrates on the supernatural tales of dream, including the use of dream vision, prophetic dream and dream realism.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Hsieh, Yauling
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8924844
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8924844

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