Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780824867812

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press


Focusing on a diverse cast of characters and/or depraved actions polemicized by writers from the Spring and Autumn period (771-476 B.C.E.) through the Song dynasty (960-1279 C.E.), this volume places center stage transgressive individuals and groups traditionally demonized and marginalized by Confucian annalists and largely shunned by modern scholars. This interdisciplinary collection demonstrates that many of these so-called miscreants—treacherous regicides, impious monks, cutthroat underlings, ill-bred offspring, depraved poet-literati, and disloyal officials—were deemed so not because of a set of immutable social and religious norms, but by decisions and circumstances influenced by personal taste, contradictory value systems, and negotiations of political and social power.

Table of Contents

Front Matter


N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Part I Broken Ties: Compromised Social and Political Relationships

2 Negative Role Models

Cong Ellen Zhang

Part II Orthopraxy vs. Heteropraxy: Fluidity in Ritual and Social Norms

5 Rituals without Rules

Miranda Brown and Anna-Alexandra Fodde-Reguer

6 Bad Writing

Vincent S. Leung

8 Alcoholism and Song Literati

Edwin Van Bibber-Orr

Part III Cultures of Bloodshed and Mayhem: Rhetoric and Reality in Confucian and Buddhist Attitudes toward Martial Violence