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Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China$
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N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867812

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.001.0001

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Running Amok in Early Chinese Narrative

Running Amok in Early Chinese Narrative

(p.171) 10 Running Amok in Early Chinese Narrative
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

Eric Henry

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the penchant for suicidal depravity and violence observable in many characters in Zuozhuan左傳‎, the text which, above all others, stresses the paramount importance of ritual propriety as the determinant of all one’s actions. The chapter suggests that the characters concerned feel fully alive only when they act in open defiance of the rites. It is only through disobedience that they can feel sure that they are exercising the faculty of free will. This view is then briefly applied to tales in other early Chinese narrative contexts.

Keywords:   Zuozhuan 左傳, spring and autumn, Confucius, succession disputes, ritual, odes, alliances

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