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Text: The Plum in the Golden Vase, or Chin P’ing Mei, Vol. 2: The Rivals. Translated by David Roy. Princeton University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780691126197.
In Chapters 21-40, the life of the Ximen family compound continues to be punctuated by episodes of jealousy and other eruptions of turbulence. No longer adding permanent members to his harem, Ximen Qing engages in fleeting sexual trysts with servants and other minor characters, sowing the seeds of current and future conflict. Just when this debauchery seems unsustainable, or his multiple misdeeds threaten legal consequences, Ximen Qing not only manages to escape but even discovers new luxuries. Cuisine, couture, horticulture, and especially jewelry and other accessories—we will explore the material richness of fin-de-siècle Ming society portrayed in the magnificent David Roy translation of this novel, this volume of which is subtitled The Rivals.
Stephen Roddy, a professor at the University of San Francisco, received his PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, and specializes in the fiction and other prose genres of 18th and 19th century China and Japan. He teaches courses in Japanese and Chinese literature, culture, and language.
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