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postgraduate thesis: The writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty

TitleThe writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty
The writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Leung, SK
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chan, T. [陳天浩]. (2013). The writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194743
AbstractZhuozhong zhi, an autobiographical memoir written by a learned eunuch, Liu Ruoyu, has been a widely mentioned historical record for understanding fractional conflict and palace life in late Ming dynasty. Despite the importance and richness of this historical record from an unusual source, little attention has been paid to the complexities of the history regarding its writing and circulation, and the textual differences among its multiple versions. The negligence has led to insensitive choices among accessible versions, and hence unsatisfactory emendation, leaving a significant portion of information unrevealed. A survey of pre-modern versions of Zhuozhong zhi in libraries all over the world was carried out to identify targets for further examination depending on their relative importance and accessibility. These versions of Zhuozhong zhi, mostly manuscripts, were studied in detail from their layout to textual differences. The information gathered helped reconstruct the history of writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi, and provide guidance to effective use of its major versions. First, the life of Liu Ruoyu is re-examined to give a broad context of the formation of the book. He was found to be actively rewriting, adding and deleting content throughout the last 13 years of his life. By having sorted the versions of Zhuozhong zhi according to the time their originals were produced, it was found that Liu gave out manuscripts not long after each revision. The revisions were usually made to record important events that had happened earlier to himself, his family, friends and foes. This explains the importance of not skipping earlier versions. There is simply no authoritative final version for Zhuozhong zhi to which all drafts are inferior. A few key versions are identified to include in any careful study of relevant topics. The circulation of Zhuozhong zhi itself illustrates an interesting phenomenon of reading. The focus of its readers across generations shifted from political events closely relevant to themselves or their family members, to the formation of palace and the organization of inner court, and later, to general palace culture or eunuch life. The trend not only shows an ever increasing distancing of readers from the central theme voiced by the writer, but also indicates the vitality of this historical work. Even Emperor Qianlong who had banned Zhuozhong zhi due to its derogative mentioning of Jurchens found its abridged version historically significant, and, unaware of its original, ordered it to be included in his imperial collections. Perhaps unnoticed by Qianlong, an almost completed version of the banned Zhuozhong zhi, with only the most sensitive chapter erased and words rephrased, has always been stored in the inner court since the time of his grandfather Kangxi, and reproduced later during the reign of his descendant Emperor Tongzhi.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramChinese
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197544

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLeung, SK-
dc.contributor.authorChan, Tin-ho-
dc.contributor.author陳天浩-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-27T23:16:43Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-27T23:16:43Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationChan, T. [陳天浩]. (2013). The writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194743-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197544-
dc.description.abstractZhuozhong zhi, an autobiographical memoir written by a learned eunuch, Liu Ruoyu, has been a widely mentioned historical record for understanding fractional conflict and palace life in late Ming dynasty. Despite the importance and richness of this historical record from an unusual source, little attention has been paid to the complexities of the history regarding its writing and circulation, and the textual differences among its multiple versions. The negligence has led to insensitive choices among accessible versions, and hence unsatisfactory emendation, leaving a significant portion of information unrevealed. A survey of pre-modern versions of Zhuozhong zhi in libraries all over the world was carried out to identify targets for further examination depending on their relative importance and accessibility. These versions of Zhuozhong zhi, mostly manuscripts, were studied in detail from their layout to textual differences. The information gathered helped reconstruct the history of writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi, and provide guidance to effective use of its major versions. First, the life of Liu Ruoyu is re-examined to give a broad context of the formation of the book. He was found to be actively rewriting, adding and deleting content throughout the last 13 years of his life. By having sorted the versions of Zhuozhong zhi according to the time their originals were produced, it was found that Liu gave out manuscripts not long after each revision. The revisions were usually made to record important events that had happened earlier to himself, his family, friends and foes. This explains the importance of not skipping earlier versions. There is simply no authoritative final version for Zhuozhong zhi to which all drafts are inferior. A few key versions are identified to include in any careful study of relevant topics. The circulation of Zhuozhong zhi itself illustrates an interesting phenomenon of reading. The focus of its readers across generations shifted from political events closely relevant to themselves or their family members, to the formation of palace and the organization of inner court, and later, to general palace culture or eunuch life. The trend not only shows an ever increasing distancing of readers from the central theme voiced by the writer, but also indicates the vitality of this historical work. Even Emperor Qianlong who had banned Zhuozhong zhi due to its derogative mentioning of Jurchens found its abridged version historically significant, and, unaware of its original, ordered it to be included in his imperial collections. Perhaps unnoticed by Qianlong, an almost completed version of the banned Zhuozhong zhi, with only the most sensitive chapter erased and words rephrased, has always been stored in the inner court since the time of his grandfather Kangxi, and reproduced later during the reign of his descendant Emperor Tongzhi.-
dc.languagechi-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleThe writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty-
dc.titleThe writing and circulation of Zhuozhong zhi : a eunuch's record of the palace life and politics in late Ming dynasty-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5194743-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineChinese-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5194743-

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