A Site for Uncanny Women: Qu You’s “Peony Lantern” and the Local History of Ningbo

A Site for Uncanny Women: Qu You's "Peony Lantern" and the Local History of Ningbo

Fumiko Jōo - 2011-2012 Postdoctoral Associate, Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University and Lecturer, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Room 207, Sterling Memorial Library See map
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 6511

Qu You’s (1347-1433) “Peony Lantern,” one of the most popular Chinese ghost stories in early modern East Asia, begins with an encounter of a ghost woman and a young scholar in Ningbo in 1360. Dr. Jōo’s paper aims to contextualize this renowned tale within the micro-regional history of Yin County, Ningbo, and examine the literary and socio-political discourse of uncanny women in the area. Through investigating the historical setting of the Huxin Temple in Ningbo and the legendary Buddhist sisters who patronized the monastery, Dr. Jōo discusses how “The Peony Lantern” gained a strong association with the Ningbo legend through its connection to the site of this local temple. The Ningbo version of the tale, which differs from Qu You’s original in the ending, also suggests how the local literati attempted to subjugate the unruly ghost heroine by using the site of a pagoda. Through discussing the localized version of “The Peony Lantern,” Dr. Jōo further explores the literary and historical tie between the pagoda and the uncanny women in the region. Fumiko Jōo specializes in Chinese and East Asian comparative literature. Her research field is Ming-Qing fiction and its expansion in early modern Japan with particular interests in fantastic stories and gender. Her dissertation “The Peony Lantern and Fantastic Tales in Late Imperial China and Tokugawa Japan: Local History, Religion, and Gender” (University of Chicago, 2011) examines the transnational and micro-regional circulation and interpretation of Qu You’s (1347-1433) Jiandeng xinhua in China and Japan. During her time at Yale, she will develop her dissertation into a book manuscript and begin a new project on serpent women within popular culture of early modern East Asia. She will also teach a course entitled “Fantastic Tales in China and Japan, 14th-19th Centuries.”

China, Japan, Transregional