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Archer Hou Yi According to Julius Zeyer (1841–1901) and Lu Xun (1881–1936): Changing Perceptions of Ancient Myths in Modern Literature

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

This article analyzes two literary works by the Czech writer, Julius Zeyer (1841−1901), and Lu Xun (1881−1936) by elaborating upon two different myths concerning the Archer Hou Yi. These myths were presented by the missionary and Sinologist William Frederick Mayers in The Chinese Reader’s Manual: A Handbook of Biographical, Historical, Mythological and General Literary References (1874), and other Chinese sources. Zeyer highlighted the first myth, which was connected with the Emperor Yao and showed Hou Yi shooting arrows at the nine suns appearing together in the heavens, and Lu Xun preferred the second myth, where the Archer Yi rebelled against the Emperor Tai Kang, whom he drove from the Capital, and later was killed by Han Zhuo. The myth of Chang E who flew to the moon is described only by Lu Xun.


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