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Staging, Spectacles, And Acts Of Recognition

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that a sense of the ubiquity of the stage and the structuring of the viewing/viewed relationship contributes to the development of a major literary theme in Chinese literature, namely, the presentation of heroes. Following a brief discussion of why the previous atheatrical approach to the study of heroism only befits earlier chivalric writings, the chapter then defines the unique theatricality of Shuihu heroism as constituted of the relationship between performers and connoisseurs. It discusses the strong emotional bonding between performers and connoisseurs of heroism-a bonding late imperial writers and commentators saw as central to the staging of acts of recognition. Finally, the chapter analyzes the scene in which the Emperor grants amnesty to the Shuihu heroes arguing that he places himself as the viewer, but his viewing 'contains' the anti-establishment elements of Shuihu heroic theatricality.

Keywords: acts of recognition; amnesty; atheatrical approach; Chinese heroism; Chinese literature; Shuihu zhuan; theatrical bonding; theatrical recognition

10.1163/ej.9789004191662.i-277.18
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004191662.i-277.18
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