Volume 8, Issue 6, December 2019, Pages: 348-353
Received: Oct. 31, 2019;
Published: Dec. 9, 2019
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Wang Yuehui, Chinese Culture, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Li Bi, Chinese Culture, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China; Institute of Art Theory, School of Art and Design, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China
In the Ming Dynasty, reading groups proliferated, readers were “no longer restricted to the intellectual class,” nor reading “a special right of scholars.” In recent years, commercial publishing research in the Ming Dynasty has gradually received attention. However, scholars’ attention is still lacking on these questions: When did these books for specific readers begin to enter the public's field of vision? Who compiled the books? And what effect it had on the reading community? This paper attempts to sort out the development of reader communities and reading materials in the Ming Dynasty, taking the readers as the subject of reading and how they construct reading rules, habits, and interests in the Ming Dynasty. As for books, the object of reading, how popular book break the class of "text" within the elite class and begin to provide the general public with access to knowledge. Also, the impact of social background on the reading subject in the specific historical conditions of the Ming Dynasty deserves attention. Few scholars have thus far discussed the specific profile of "readers" and "reading materials." Reading is essentially a collective phenomenon; readers are as much as individuals as members of a reading group. The social background of a reader shapes in a significant way his reading skills, reading concepts, and interpretation strategy. By combing through the social environment, we can explore the reading behavior and reading norms of a particular historical period from a new perspective. This study attempts to expand the cultural and social context on which the "reading action" is based and discuss the social conditions for a particular set of "reading norms" that oriented the reader before the act of reading.
Reading and Transcendence of Ming Dynasty Texts, Social Sciences.
Vol. 8, No. 6,
2019, pp. 348-353.
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Fish believes that people who speak the same language follow the same set of rules, and their understanding is "consistent" in a certain sense. See S. Fish, “Literature in the Reader: Affective Stylistics”, New Literary History 2 (1), 1970, p. 140.
The "literary ability" proposed by Culler is the capacity to translate the technique of "understand words" into "literary structure" and "meaning" based on the reader's cognitive ability. See J. Culler, Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature. London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 132-144.
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Li Zhi (1527-1602) mentioned in the Book of Burning, “Get your hands on the good readable eight-legged essays. Read a few of them every day and until you have gone through about five hundred of them by the time you get to the examination hall. When the examination topic comes down, all you need is to be a clerk and copy down what you have memorized, and you will score well in the examination.” Li zhi, Book of Burning, Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 1975, p. 84.
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During this period, the reader's attention was gradually guidedby the printed industry, and the "talented women" phenomenon began to get the attention of the intellectuals in the middle and late Ming Dynasty.
In Hu Wenzhao's Textual Research on Women's Works of Past Dynasties, there are 245 female writers in the Ming Dynasty. The increase in female readers also represents an expansion in women's cultural accomplishments. For example, Ye Yuan Shao's daughter, Ye Xiaoying, wrote a drama called Yuanyang meng, and her Wumengtang quan ji was co-published with her mother and sister. In the sequel of Chidu xinyu guangbian, it is recorded that a female painter wrote a letter to the female editor to suggest forming a female poet group. They sent poems to each other during the Spring and Autumn Holidays and compiled them into a collection of poems. The Cambridge History of China, Volume 8, The Ming Dynasty 1368–1644 Part 2, p. 611. Oki Yasushi, The Publishing Culture of Jiangnan in the Late Ming Dynasty. p. 61.
Dorothy Y. Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-century China. Translated by Li Zhisheng, Nanjing: Jiangsu People's Publishing House, 2005, p. 68.
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Cui Wei's observed in 1488, “Many people can read, even rural children, ferry workers, and boatmen are expected to be literate. Although there is no evidence that the common folks can reach the cultural level beyond basic literacy, such as writing and expression, it is enough to show the spread of basic education and the improvement of literacy rate.” Denis C. Twitchet, Frederick W. Mote, translated by Yang Pinquan, The Cambridge History of China, Volume 8, the Ming Dynasty 1368–1644 Part 2. p. 607.