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Family History in an Old Genre: The Strange Tales of Lü Meisun and Guo Zeyun

Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Madison, WI 53706, USA
Religions 2019, 10(10), 547;
Received: 17 July 2019 / Revised: 28 August 2019 / Accepted: 2 September 2019 / Published: 23 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Chinese Literature)
Recording personal and family history has been a secondary purpose of the zhiguai (tales of the strange) genre from its inception. As there is no proven female author of a surviving collection before the 20th century, these family histories were shaped by male collectors recording tales told by both female and male informants. Yet in the Republican period, when the practice of recording strange incidents from memory or hearsay had become a marginal practice, Lü Meisun 呂美蓀 (1881–1945) published two collections. Lü’s work stands at a fascinating intersection of gender, genre, and cultural change. She presents a family history centered on the female side of her family and her personal spiritual autobiography against the larger backdrop of cultural transformation from the late Qing through the Republican period. In this paper, I consider a male author of zhiguai during the same years, Guo Zeyun 郭則澐 (1882–1946), for comparison. With their differing conceptions of family, both writers strive to convert familial memory and strange experience into meaning relevant for a wider audience in the present moment. View Full-Text
Keywords: family; gender; karma; memory; narrative family; gender; karma; memory; narrative
MDPI and ACS Style

Huntington, R. Family History in an Old Genre: The Strange Tales of Lü Meisun and Guo Zeyun. Religions 2019, 10, 547.

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