The differentiation between elegance and popularity in the orthography of popular literature of the Ming Dynasty and its causes

Meilan Zhang*, Hao Zhan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Through examination of variants in two versions of Jinpingmei, three versions of Water Margin, two versions of Journey to the West, and between relevant sections of Qingpingshantang Scripts, Ancient and Modern Fiction, Jingshi Tongyan, and Amazing Stories, the existence of two trends of elegance and popularity in the orthography of different versions and literary works may be detected. Those texts with a more elegant character have been largely influenced by a strategy of standardized orthography, which is closely related to the creation purpose, knowledge, and cultural awareness of the authors, the willingness of booksellers to produce and sell such works, and their target consumers and readership. The differentiation between elegance and popularity in the character of literary works truly reflects the divergence of different texts within different social strata, which is not only a linguistic and philological question, but also a sociological one.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Chinese Writing Systems
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Jinpingmei
  • Ming Dynasty
  • novels
  • standardized orthographic strategy
  • Water Margin

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