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May 2018

Talk: Winds, Dreams, Theater: A Genealogy of Emotion-Realms through the Lens of The Peony Pavilion
Ling Hon Lam

May 10, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
1930 Buchanan, Buchanan Hall

In his talk, Lam will give a revisionist history of emotions in Chinese literature and culture centered on the idea of emotion as space – which the Chinese call “emotion-realm” (qingjing) – rather than a state of mind. If The Peony Pavilion (Mudan ting, 1598) is the romantic play par excellence in early modern China, it is not because, as many assume, it celebrates emotion as the innermost essence of a liberated individual. Rather, it is because the play eloquently encapsulates the three major historical regimes of the spatiality of emotion: winds, dreamscapes, and theatricality. The Peony Pavilion has deployed these various regimes in an anachronistic juxtaposition, obliterating their timeline and structural differences. Lam will give an archaeological reading of the play that renders visible the subtle transformation of Chinese theater and subject formation—of which the transfiguration of the dream…

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