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City of Marvel and TransformationChangan and Narratives of Experience in Tang Dynasty China$
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Linda Rui Feng

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824841065

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824841065.001.0001

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Staging Talent in Urban Arenas

Staging Talent in Urban Arenas

(p.88) Chapter Four Staging Talent in Urban Arenas
City of Marvel and Transformation

Linda Rui Feng

University of Hawai'i Press

“Staging Talent in Urban Arenas” focuses on examination lore in the latter half of the Tang, which shows that the urban space of Chang’an allows candidates to define themselves by vying for recognition outside the examination ground proper. For the precareer man of letters, an important aspect of establishing oneself was the successful demonstration of talent in the public eye. This necessitated a series of presentations of literary talent—both on paper and in person—to intervening parties, and to the even larger community of beholders whose consensus could become suasive. Narratives of urban spectacles and public competition intimate an invisible crowd of onlookers, whose presence helped to cement (or undermine) the reputation of the neophytes.

Keywords:   literary talent, urban space, evaluation, spectacle, reputation, competition, civil service examination, performance, spectator

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