Speaker: Tina Lu, Yale University
As a genre, huaben are relentlessly experimental. Sometimes these stories come close to stream of consciousness (especially in their depiction of dreams), and it is easy to lapse into habits of reading that consider those experiments proto-modernist. Tina Lu would like to take a step back and consider the ways in which they repeatedly explore both minds and experience within a cultural and philosophical backdrop that emphasized the problems of immediacy and free will. How does experiencing events differ from experiencing a story?
Tina Lu is a Professor of Chinese Literature in Yale’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. She currently serves as department chair and is also inaugural head of Pauli Murray College (this is the equivalent of dean at one of the Harvard Houses). She is the author of Persons, Roles, and Minds: Identity in Peony Pavilion and Peach Blossom Fan; Accidental Incest, Filial Cannibalism, and Other Peculiar Encounters in Late Imperial Literature; and the forthcoming A Coin, A Severed Head: Object Experiences in Seventeenth-Century China. This paper is part of a new project tentatively entitled “What the Hell Were They Thinking.”