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Marketable Writings

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Chapter Summary

Chen Jiru composed a non-commissioned biography of an ancestral spirit, who initially turned into a folk deity, before being co-opted by the state and transformed into an official river god. The spirit who became known as the Fourth Son Golden Dragon Great King began life as the late Southern-Song martyr Xie Zhu. In his biography of Fan Muzhi, however, Chen wrote wholly without regard for ideal norms and interests, and it is that Chen's other authorial persona is decidedly present. The spirit of the writer and the timbre of the work being the determining criteria for xiaopin, the genre could include almost any literary form. Chen made much of instructing his readers on which cultural pursuits were a suitable choice, once one had the leisure to pursue them. By the late Ming, tea had become a large enterprise servicing both domestic and foreign markets.

Keywords: Chen Jiru; cultural primers; domestic markets; foreign markets; non-commissioned biography; xiaopin



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