This Fearful Object of Desire: On the Interpretation of a Bad Dream in Wang Shifu’s Story of the Western Wing

Abstract : Zhang Sheng’s dream at the end of the fourth book of the celebrated zaju of the Yuan period—The Story of the Western Wing (Xixiang ji) by Wang Shifu—has attracted little attention. Yet it is of central importance as it involves essential information concerning the relationship between the two main characters of the story and their contradictions. This is highly consequential, as the Xixiang ji features at the core of the Chinese imaginary of love during the whole premodern period. This particular dream scene inherits from a long lineage of textual tradition, and in turn has had a lasting influence on other texts. The interpretation of this dream by Jin Shengtan, which we can infer through his own edition of the play in the 17th century, is highly compatible with a modern approach, as could be drawn from Jacques Lacan’s theory of desire, the subject, and the Other.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 28, 2019 - 2:18:59 PM
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Rainier Lanselle. This Fearful Object of Desire: On the Interpretation of a Bad Dream in Wang Shifu’s Story of the Western Wing. Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident, Presses universitaires de Vincennes, 2018, Récits de rêve en Asie orientale — Dream Narratives in East Asia, pp.205-237. ⟨https://journals.openedition.org/extremeorient/⟩. ⟨hal-01996484⟩

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