Upcoming Lecture: Aude Lucas-Lesain “Tales of Success and Failure: Predictive Dreams of Imperial Examinations in Qing Xiaoshuo Literature”

Online | Erlangen, Germany
1st Jun 2021
6:15–7:45 pm CET
US East Coast: 12:15–1:45 pm EST
China: 0:15–1:45 am CST

Speaker: Aude Lucas-Lesain (Chinese Literature; Centre de recherche sur les civilisations d’Asie orientale, Paris; IKGF Visiting Fellow)
This talk is part of a series of virtual lectures hosted by the International Research Consortium “Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication” at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. The full schedule is available at http://ikgf.fau.de/events/upcoming-events/
For online participation, please register anytime at http://ikgf.fau.de/lectures

This lecture intends to depict the antagonistic look of the literati upon the civil service examination system through xiaoshuo and biji narratives of the Qing period. The analysis relies on tales of dream predictions that portend success or failure at the examinations, and shows that such tales mirrored the way the literati envisioned the examinations in terms of predestination versus agency. While a large majority of stories featured oneiric omens that foretold a fate that nobody could go against, the Qing period witnessed a growing number of tales in which candidates to the civil service examinations took action after they had had a dream predicting their failure. May their endeavor know a favorable or a fruitless outcome, the point is that these tales engaged the agency of characters. This gradual shift in the way to deal with dream prediction may be perceived as a metaphor of the literati’s renewed view on the examination system, a view that voiced the desires and margin of action of the candidates.

Contact Email: ikgf-it@fau.de
URL: http://ikgf.fau.de/lectures