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Tang Studies 25 (2007) A THIRD LOOK AT "LI WA ZHUAN" WILLIAM H. NIENHAUSER, JR. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - MADISON "For in a sense all annotation is over annotation," Glen Dudbridge, ''ASecond Look at 'LiWa zhuan'" "Telling the story is responsive to truth, but it also creates truth" -Christopher J. Insole When I was first asked to write something for the twenty-fifth issue of Tang Studies, "Li Wa zhuan" *~i1' and Glen Dudbridge's seminal study of the talewhich appeared exactly twenty-five years ago-immediately came to mind. I have been reading, teaching and re-reading both the tale, and Dudbridge's study, in the twenty years since I discovered both. This paper began as an attempt to reassess Dudbridge's entire book, intending a more detailed look at the life and times of the author of the tale, Bo Xingjian B1TM (776-827), while also presenting an alternative allegorical target for the piece. These two goals, it soon became apparent, would require a longer study than the present circumstances allow.Thus this paper will focus on verifying Dudbridge's approach to "Li Wa zhuan," especially his second-level reading of the resonances and echoes found in the text. It will proceed (1) by reviewing the model for Dudbridge's readings, Frank Kermode's edition of The Tempest, (2) by discussing the audiences for the tale, (3) by supporting Dudbridge's approach through augmenting the number and nature of the resonances he has already pointed out, and (4) by suggesting a second, literary context for "Li Wa zhuan."l There is a long tradition of reexamining scholarship in China. Liu Zongyuan fPP*7C (773-819) wrote the "Fei Guoyu" ~F~§R (Argument against the Harangues of the Various States), a text which inspired three "Fei Fei Guoyu" ~F ~F~§-R (Argument against the Argument against the Harangues of the Various States) to counter his opinions.2 This, too, is a third look at an ancient text, the My thanks to Li He, Weijia Lu, and other members of my recent seminars, who contributed in various ways to this study. To Mei Ah Tan, Ying Qin and Ying Liu lowe an especial debt of gratitude for their varied assistance. I have Charles Hartman to thank for several insightful suggestions on the overall reading of the tale. 1 A reassessment is in part called for by the number of studies of "Li Wa zhuan" that have appeared since the publication of The Tale o/Ii wa (and even since ''A Second Look"). 2 The three "Fei 'Fei Guoyu'" ~F~F~~ were written by Liu Zhang ;U~ (ca. 1095-1177), Jiang 91 Nienhauser: A Third Look at "Li ~ zhuanJJ Li Wa tale. Although only one of several important Tang tales, Glen Dudbridge has made the story well known to Western students of Tang fiction, through both his monograph, The Tale of Ii \%, Study and Critical Edition of a Chinese Story from the Ninth Century,3 and his subsequent article, ''A Second Look at Ii \% zhuan."4 In his ''A Second Look" Dudbridge felt called upon to defend his method of providing "explanatory glosses" for the Western reader, although his notes are clearly in the tradition of Chinese exegetes who provided interlinear commentary in both verse and prose editions.5 Similarly, Dudbridge has credibly deflected claims of over annotation. This study proposes to carry Dudbridge's efforts a step further. But first to Shakespeare. THE TEMPESTAND RELATED TEXTS The Arden Shakespeare has now seen three editions of The Tempest. The first was by the eminent Shakespeare scholar, Morton Luce (1849-1943).6 Frank Kermode edited the second edition (1954). The third edition, edited by Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan, appeared in 1999. It is Kermode's exegesis that Dudbridge read and is thus that which concerns us, at least at the outset. In his lengthy "Introduction" Kermode considers the claims that the German drama Die Schone Sidea (xvi), may be a kind of ur- Tempest. Duanli 1Iftfffitt (late eleventh century), and Yu Pan J1i~ (fl. 1300), the younger brother ofYu Chi J1i~ (1272-1348). 3 London: Ithaca Press, 1983. 4 Originally published in Translating Chinese Literature, ed. Eugene Eoyang and Lin...


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