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144 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995© 1995 by University ofHawaii Press Reischauer wrote The Japanese. Both books are the embodiment ofvast knowledge and experience, wisdom, and statesmanship. They are now followed by Iriye's book on the international relations of these two countries. As Iriye's research interest has gone global, he gives this book an intellectually broad perspective and puts disparate data in tiieir proper places in the narrative to substantiate his points. This book should be required reading for students in the modern history ofEast Asia. Those who are engaged in die conduct ofinternational relations in general will find useful lessons in it. The book is very well written, lean, rigorous in reasoning, and enjoyable to read. My only nitpicking involves two words on page 87. Since Mao Tse-tung did not attend die political conference in 1938, "including Mao" should be deleted from the text. Susan H. Marsh Providence College IS Jin Yong. Fox Volant ofthe Snowy Mountain. Translated by Olivia Mok. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1993. xxxi, 382 pp. Wuxia or martial arts fiction is a unique Chinese literary genre, ofwhich Jin Yong, the author of the present title, Fox Volant ofthe Snowy Mountain, is its most talented and innovative writer. This fictional genre has both ancient and recent antecedents in its literary genealogy. Historiography, poetry, and drama all celebrated knight-errantry by accentuating such qualities as altruism and justice, personal loyalty and mutual trust, honor and fame, physical and moral courage, and a daunting defiance of the laws of the land and the conventions of society. A glorification ofchivalry was also popular subject matter for various forms of traditional Chinese fiction, literary cousins of the wuxia fiction. Chivalric tales in the classical language embodied the earliest fictionalized accounts ofknight-errantry, glamorizing historical or fictitious chivalrous personages by employing special narrative techniques and linguistic elegance, and by developing vivid characterization. Later on, the fiction ofknight-errantry bifurcated into written classical tales and oral stories. Professional storytellers of the Song dynasty (960-1279) fascinated dieir audiences with accounts of heroic swordsmen and swordswomen. The successive dynasties of the Yuan (1280-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) witnessed the emergence and florescence ofvernacular fiction, a popular theme of which was the celebration ofbuoyant, chivalrous heroism. Reviews 145 Classical tales, oral stories, and vernacular romances were the literary predecessors of wuxia fiction, while wuxia fiction proper was a later arrival on the Chinese literary scene, appearing only toward the turn ofthe present century. Earlier works ofthis genre were wedded to the conventions of chivalric tales and detective fiction. A chivalry-cum-detection novel would tell the story ofa group ofbrave, loyal, and honorable knights-errant protecting an upright official and assisting him in the elimination, capture, or incarceration ofvillains, be they usurious princes, corrupt officials, or bullying, local ruffians. Later on, the adventurous element found in such works was transformed into the fantastic, and die resultant new form evolved into what is now called wuxia fiction. A typical wuxia novel tends to extol miraculous physical feats by exaggerating the prowess ofits heroes and villains and enhancing the efficacy of their weaponry and fighting skills. Narrative focus shifts away from chivalry to methods offighting and physical culture, and, as a result, wuxia fiction suffers as a whole in that its overconcern with a special type ofhuman activity inevitably leads to die neglect or stereotyped representation ofhuman interests and passions and to die gradual erosion of aesthetic concerns. Thus, a preoccupation with martial arts is at once the principal generic feature of wuxia fiction and die main cause for its failure to attain the status of serious literature. Jin Yong's novels of chivalry outshine the typical examples of wuxia fiction because ofthe innovations the writer has brought to the genre. As a rule, wuxia fiction writers tend to resort to the wholesale invention of a fantastic character in their treatment of the conventional and obligatory duels—at die considerable expense of other concerns. Their works read like a collection of entertaining yarns, and die description of exciting contests ofphysical strength and dexterity appears the sine qua non of their work. In contradistinction...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 144-147
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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