The Status of Fiction in Traditional Northeast Asian Literary Culture

A while back, I mentioned how, in 1632, the commoners around Shaoxing (in China) had planned to cosplay the characters from the famous wuxia novel The Outlaws of the Marsh, hoping to appease the gods into making it rain so a famine could be avoided, and some of the local literati had gotten involved, donated some cloth and lots of money, and […]

The Cosplayers of the Late Ming Dynasty

Wait… cosplay? In the late Ming Dynasty? Apparently, yes. And I don’t just mean dressing up in costumes, which is a universal and ancient activity. I mean cosplay. What’s the difference? I’ll let Jonathan Spence lay out the dots, before I connect them. Here’s a passage from Return to Dragon Mountain: After his dismissal by the prince of Lu, […]