Focusing on the Tang-dynasty tale “Du Zichun” and comparing it with foreign and Chinese analogues in which the protagonist takes an allegorical inner journey only to return to his own world and time, Carrie Reed explores treatments of the notion of illusory reality. She argues that the treatment of time as stretched in “Du Zichun” closely resembles that in certain Indian tales and may have derived not from written translations of Buddhist texts but from Indian stories that circulated orally in China. She further shows that “Du Zichun” differs significantly from most Chinese stories yet also reflects ontological concerns of the Tang dynasty: its multifaced and ambivalent message—which simultaneously underscores the themes of illusory reality and attachment—exemplifies the variety of ways that foreign stories were assimilated by Chinese writers into a new literary environment.


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pp. 309-342
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