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September 17, 2009

Anna Shields

From Gossip to History: Views of Mid-Tang Literature in Anecdotal Texts

October 6, 2009
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Anna Shields, Director of the Honors College, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The writers of Tang anecdotal texts collected many lively stories of literati culture, combining hearsay with gossip and personal opinion with historical fact. Though these memorable works have shaped our understanding of the Tang for centuries, their unusual perspective poses problems for literary historical inquiry. How might we read anecdotal texts to sort out gossip from history? This talk will explore the representation of mid-Tang literature in ninth-century anecdotal works and show how such texts reveal ongoing debates over literary culture, debates that were largely concealed by Song citation and reorganization of Tang texts.

Anna M. Shields studied Chinese literature at Harvard University (M.A.) and Indiana University (Ph.D.), and has taught at the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, Princeton University; she is now Director of the Honors College and Associate Professor of Chinese, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her book, Crafting a Collection: The Cultural Contexts and Poetic Practice of the Huajian ji (Collection from among the Flowers), was published by the Harvard University Asia Center in 2006. She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship in 2005-2006, and is currently completing a book on the literature of friendship in mid-Tang China.

Posted by kanepark at September 17, 2009 05:16 PM