Falling in Love: Stories from Ming China
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280pp. May 2006
Falling in Love: Stories from Ming China
Translator: Hanan, Patrick;
Falling in love, with all its accompanying problems, was a subject of obsessive interest among writers and readers in the Ming Dynasty, when society held strictly to arranged marriages. The stories in this engaging collection all deal with this theme in very different ways, sometimes comically, sometimes tragically. They portray young people choosing their own lovers, resorting to ingenious stratagems and risky escapades in defiance of contemporary mores. Chosen to represent the best works from the great age of the vernacular story, they offer an admirable introduction to the world of Chinese fiction in this era.

All of the stories in Falling in Love have been translated especially for this volume, and most appear here in translation for the first time. They are taken from two works, Constant Words to Awaken the World (Xing shi heng yan) and a related collection, The Rocks Nod Their Heads (Shi dian tou), both published in the early seventeenth century.

"An entertaining introduction to the genre." —Choice (44:7, March 2007)

"Falling in Love also offers a perspective on the broader culture and society of Ming China, not just on romantic love." —dannyreviews.com

Translator: Hanan, Patrick;
Patrick Hanan is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Chinese Literature, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He is the author of The Chinese Vernacular Story, a history of the genre, and the translator of many works of Chinese traditional fiction, including The Carnal Prayer Mat and The Sea of Regret.
Read the introduction (PDF).
Introduction •

1. Shengxian •

2. The Oil Seller •

3. Marriage Destinies Rearranged •

4. The Rainbow Slippers •

5. WuYan •

6. The Reckless Scholar •

7. The Lovers’ Tombs •

Appendix: two sources •

Notes on texts •




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