Anticlericalism and Enlightenment: Temples and Clerics in
Yiqun Zhou, Professor, EALC,Stanford University
OPEN ONLY TO STANFORD FACULTY AND STUDENTS.
RSVP required to Adrian Thieret <firstname.lastname@example.org> by Sunday, February 20. Dinner will be provided.
This talk examines the bifurcating representation of the numerous Buddhist and Taoist clerics and temples in Dream of the Red Chamber in terms of a tension between the novel’s double themes of anticlericalism and enlightenment. Through its rich characterization and utilization of strategies such as allegory and irony, the novel helps us understand the complexity and paradoxes as well as unifying concerns in late imperial Chinese conceptions of the roles of organized religion and of the relationship between the doctrinal and institutional aspects of religions. The discussion will place a great emphasis on a comparison between the novel’s first eighty and last forty chapters. Despite a remarkable degree of consistency between the two parts in their underlying understandings of the nature of organized religion and in the narrative devices and symbolic tropes used to dramatize those notions, the last forty chapters lack the reflection and nuance exhibited in the first eighty chapters.
CEAS Postdoctoral Fellow Suyoung Son and EALC PhD student Jeff Knott will serve as discussants.