Historians have long ascribed the self-martyrdom of Huang Chunyao during the Manchu-Qing seizure of Jiading City in 1645 to his stringent cultivation of Confucian principles. Informed by findings from contemporary psychology, memory studies, and research on dreaming, Lynn A. Struve brings to light dimensions of Huang’s fraught consciousness that traditional biographical sources tend to obscure. Using to advantage the diary that Huang kept in the spring of 1644 (little known until the twentieth century), she delves deeply into Huang’s mental state—including his immersion in Chan Buddhism—during the Ming dynastic collapse. She thereby shows that individual temperament, no less than factors of creed, culture, and social status, illuminates why certain people respond more radically than others to conditions that impinge on all.


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pp. 343-394
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