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The Narrator Framed

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Chapter Summary

Red-light authors went to considerable lengths inventing textual ploys for introducing their narrators. Author and narrator have often been conflated in Chinese fiction criticism, and the relation between the two in red-light fiction hardly lends itself to terminological clarity. In the novels that employ a frame, the figure of the narrator is linked in some way to the author, whether by a homophonic resonance of names, by a similarity in life stories as expounded in the preface, or even by the appearance within the text of a character bearing an identical name to the eponymous pseudonym. Two main narratorial scenarios may be distinguished among the novels: in the first there is no ostensible second narrator, no take-over point, and the voice which presents the first paragraphs of a novel is maintained through to the close.

Keywords: late Qing dynasty; narrator; red-light novels



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