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Uncovering editorial voices : an analysis of the dog stories in the Taiping guangji Meade, Samantha Amber


Extensive Records of the Taiping Era (Taiping guangji 太平廣記) is an important sourcebook within Chinese medieval literature dating from the 10th century that contains over 500 volumes and thousands of examples of zhiguai, or stories of strange events and anomalies. This study examines thirty-six dog stories within one chapter of Extensive Records of the Taiping Era, “Domesticated and Wild Beasts” (Chu Shou 畜獸), that are split into two sections “Dogs, Part One” (Quan shang 犬上) and “Dogs, Part Two” (Quan xia 犬下). I trace the history of collecting zhiguai, I evaluate the significance of the content of the dog stories, and I reveal a possible reason for the selection and appearance of the specific dog stories. Using literary and folkloric methods of analysis I uncover what I consider to be an editorial voice of the literati that compiled Extensive Records of the Taiping Era, during the late Tang/early Song dynasty. This voice reveals political and philosophical changes introduced in the stories—a desire for knowledge of expanded people and territories, a new presence of scholar-officials, the resurgence of Confucianism, and a promotion of male-dominance—and the sentiments of these changes held by the literati who collected and edited the dog stories.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada