Before the Revolution

Tradition and Modernity in Two Short Stories by Bao Tianxiao, “Qie ming bo” 妾命薄 and “Yi lü ma” 一縷麻

Daniele Beltrame    Università per Stranieri di Perugia, Italia    



Popular fiction was a particularly successful trend in fiction from the late Qing era through the Republican period. In this fiction, a nostalgic and sentimental preservation of the Ming-Qing cult of qing 情 is clearly visible: romance and freedom of love are the expressions of a modern consciousness which makes individuals out of subjects of the traditional moral code. In a circular move to find solutions to national salvation and social change, sentimental literature searched for a compromise between tradition and modernity. This paper seeks to demonstrate how the Aufhebung of the old contributed to accommodate a still unchartered modernity in two short stories by Bao Tianxiao. The intertextual analysis will show the development of a persistent ambivalence between progress and nostalgia.

Aug. 29, 2023
May 2, 2023
March 8, 2023

Keywords: Yi lü maBao TianxiaoIntertextualityMandarin Ducks and butterfliesQie ming bo

Copyright: © 2023 Daniele Beltrame. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.