Notes:

Special Focus - - Culture -

1.

Yuefu are Chi­nese po­ems com­posed in a folk song style. The term lit­er­ar­ily meant “Music Bureau,” a ref­er­ence to the im­pe­rial Chi­nese gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion(s). It was orig­i­nally charged with col­lect­ing or writ­ing the lyrics, later the term Yuefu was ap­plied to lit­er­ary im­i­ta­tions or adap­ta­tions of the Music Bureau’s po­ems.

2.

The Plum in the Golden Vase or The Golden Lo­tus is a Chi­nese novel of man­ners com­posed in ver­nac­u­lar Chi­nese dur­ing the late Ming Dy­nasty (1368– 1644). The ex­plicit de­pic­tion of sex­u­al­ity gar­nered the novel a no­to­ri­ety akin to Fanny Hill and Lolita in English lit­er­a­ture, but crit­ics such as the trans­la­tor David Tod Roy see a firm moral struc­ture which ex­acts ret­ri­bu­tion for the sex­ual lib­er­tin­ism of the cen­tral char­ac­ters.

3.

A Dream of Red Man­sions, also called Dream of the Red Cham­ber, or The Story of the Stone, com­posed by Cao Xue­qin, is one of China’s Four Great Classical Nov­els. It was writ­ten some­time in the mid­dle of the 18th cen­tury dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty. Long con­sid­ered a mas­ter­piece of Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture, the novel is gen­er­ally ac­knowl­edged to be the pin­na­cle of Chi­nese fic­tion. Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai are the two most im­por­tant fe­male char­ac­ters in this novel.

4.

Diao Chan and Xi Shi are two of the Four Great Beau­ties renowned for their beauty in an­cient Chi­nese his­tory. Diaochan ( 3rd cen­tury, Late Eastern Han/ Three King­doms pe­riod) is said to be so lu­mi­nously lovely that the moon it­self would shy away in em­bar­rass­ment when com­pared to her face. Xi Shi (7th to 6th cen­tury BC, Spring and Au­tumn pe­riod) is said to be so en­tranc­ingly beau­ti­ful that fish would for­get how to swim and sink below the sur­face when see­ing her re­flec­tion in the wa­ter.

5.

Pu Songling (1640–1715) was a Qing Dy­nasty Chi­nese writer, best known as the au­thor of Strange Sto­ries from a Chi­nese Stu­dio (Liaozhai zhiyi).

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