Writing Beyond Tradition: Chivalric Stories by Chen Jinghan in Late Imperial China
On September 2, Dr. Iris Lujing Ma of University of Texas at Austin delivered a lecture on “Writing Beyond Tradition: Chivalric Stories by Chen Jinghan in Late Imperial China” to an audience of thirty at UBC’s Centre for Chinese Research. Dr. Ma’s talk focused on stories about knights-errant published in the literary journal New-New Fiction 新新小說 (1904) by its editor and main contributor, Chen Jinghan 陳景韓 (1878-1965). Dr. Ma showed how Chen established a global context for his writings through appropriating knight-errant stories from different countries, exploring new themes, and experimenting with genres, linguistic registers, and narrative approaches. Ma engaged the audience in a discussion of how Chen incorporated anarchism into Chinese knight-errant fiction, and in doing so turned traditional chivalric subgenre into to a vehicle for engagement with critical issues at stake in the late Qing.