MARION EGGERT THE GENIUS OF NA TIVE SOIL: LAO CAN YOUJI AS TRA VELOGUE If one were to choose from the Chinese literary tradition one genre which is most comitted to invoking the genius of place, one would certainly point to the youji 遊記. Verbally the term means travelogue, but frequently, and quite fittingly, it is translated as “landscape essay", both to show its fore most thematic concern and to differentiate it from more austere kinds of travel reports that would rather be called jicheng 紀程 or xinglu 行錄 in their original Chinese titles. But the youji is not at all confined to the form of prose essay: poetry, as has been convincingly argued, can function as youji too,l and the first texts to form a tradition of landscape description are in the fu 賦 genre. A similar polymorphy is one characteristic feature of the late Qing novel Lao Can youji (hereafter LC), which contains elements of genres as diverse as classical essays, traditional vernacular fiction, and Western detective sto ries. What 1 hope to do here is to find out whether we can gain a better understanding of the novel and especially of this multiformity which has disturbed
Ming Qing Yanjiu – Brill
Published: Jan 30, 1995
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