I’ve read less than I expected to, just because I’ve been busy for a number of reasons, but I’ve still managed to dig into some really interesting books over the last few months. So interesting that it took me over 5000 words to sum it up!
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 […]
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, […]
As I continue reading the book I mentioned the other day, Jonathan Spence’s Return to Dragon Mountain, I keep running across little passages that scream out to be shared, along with a little commentary. Here’s one, comprising the observations of Zhang Dai and his contemporary Ai regarding the horrors of the Imperial examination system, the civil service exams […]
I’m reading Jonathan Spence’s book about Zhang Dai at the moment, and Spence certainly succeeds early on in making Zhang seem like the guy of person you would want to hang out with… at least for a while. He was swept up by random, sweeping passions, and a powerful drive to write and write and […]