Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Kuan-yun Huang’s Warring States “Echoes” of the Past

Warring States “Echoes” of the PastDissertation Reviews has posted Mick Hunter‘s review of Kuan-yun Huang‘s dissertation, Warring States “Echoes” of the Past. Here’s how it begins:

In Warring States “Echoes” of the Past, Kuan-yun Huang sets out to establish “a methodology for the study of quotations” (p. vi) through an examination of ancient Chinese practice as it emerges in multiple received and excavated sources. Although primarily interested in the intertextuality of the Guodian 郭店 manuscript corpus, a collection of bamboo strips discovered outside of Jingmen 荊門, Hubei province, in 1994, Huang takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour of the early Chinese textual record in his effort to compare those quotations with parallels elsewhere. In the course of his study, the quotations that dot Warring States literature are revealed to be textual icebergs of a sort, the surface manifestations of various “shared discourse[s]” consisting of certain “assumptions, vocabulary, rhetorical patterns, and even conclusions” (p. 233). Quotation was not simply a matter of borrowing material from a well-known text. As Huang demonstrates, quoting authors’ experience of quotable texts was mediated by a wealth of interpretive traditions, material which is crucial to understanding the nature of early Chinese intertextuality.