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In this pathbreaking study of three of the most familiar texts in the Chinese tradition—all concerning stones endowed with magical properties—Jing Wang develops a monumental reconstruction of ancient Chinese stone lore. Wang’s thorough and systematic comparison of these classic works illuminates the various tellings of the stone story and provides new insight into major topics in traditional Chinese literature.
Bringing together Chinese myth, religion, folklore, art, and literature, this book is the first in any language to amass the sources of stone myth and stone lore in Chinese culture. Uniting classical Chinese studies with contemporary Western theoretical concerns, Wang examines these stone narratives by analyzing intertextuality within Chinese traditions. She offers revelatory interpretations to long-standing critical issues, such as the paradoxical character of the monkey in The Journey to the West, the circularity of narrative logic in The Dream of the Red Chamber, and the structural necessity of the stone tablet in Water Margin.
By both challenging and incorporating traditional sinological scholarship, Wang’s The Story of Stone reveals the ideological ramifications of these three literary works on Chinese cultural history and makes the past relevant to contemporary intellectual discourse. Specialists in Chinese literature and culture, comparative literature, literary theory, and religious studies will find much of interest in this outstanding work, which is sure to become a standard reference on the subject.