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The Proselytizing Storyteller and Buddhist Miracle Tales in Tang Dynasty China (618–907)

April 20, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
East Asia (Lathrop) Library, Room 224, 518 Memorial Way
Manling Luo - Associate Professor of Chinese
Indiana University

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here.

A talk by Manling Luo, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, Indiana University

Buddhist laymen who compiled miracle tales to promote Buddhism in medieval China were proselytizing storytellers. While claiming to follow the examples of their early medieval predecessors, Tang literati compilers developed distinctive, systematic strategies for presenting their accounts as evidence of Buddhist truths. Such strategies included theorizing in collection prefaces and documenting story sources in epilogues to individual entries. Rather than dismissing such textual strategies as mere fictional devices, I analyze their underlying assumptions to reveal the storytellers’ nuanced understandings of storytelling networks and practices. I argue that despite their religious agendas, proselytizing storytellers constituted an important part of the culture of informal storytelling in the Tang period.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here.

Event Sponsor: 
Center for East Asian Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco
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