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III. Rêve et fictions chinoises : une « autre scène » de la subjectivité

Disguised Subjectivity in Two Chinese Fictional Dream Narratives of the Qing

Subjectivité voilée dans deux récits oniriques chinois de fiction des Qing
Aude Lucas
p. 179-203


This article is an attempt to explore the emergence of subjectivity in two Qing classical short stories: while using classical patterns, they also reveal elements about the dreamers’ psychological states. The analysis shows that far from being clear-cut, the emergence of subjectivity was a non-linear process—a “premodern” way of writing. This disguised way of expressing subjectivity conveyed a renewed creative investment at a time when classical literature almost reached the edge of modernity.

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Full-text article is available on Cairn platform in open access. It will be available on this URL in January 2022.
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Subjectivity in dream accounts: a non-linear progression over centuries
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First lines

To assert that Chinese oneiric fictional literature is a very large field would be an understatement. Dream deciphering appears as early as the Shang period with mantic interpretation by pyroscapulomancy. Early literature such as the zhiguai genre takes dreams as a major subject: this serves, for example, as the subject matter of chapter ten in Gan Bao’s Soushen ji and about thirty other accounts throughout the book. Over the centuries, Chinese literature maintained the dream narrative as a persistent theme. The durability of this tradition notwithstanding, it would be a mistake to consider the treatment of dreams through the ages in Chinese literature to be a homogenous whole, or even a more or less miscellaneous aggregate of texts that could be put together simply because they are about dreams. As Dimitri Drettas put it so well, it would be misleading to regard dream narratives as a distinct category for literature. Dreams regularly appeared here and there in literature, but never...

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Bibliographical reference

Aude Lucas, “Disguised Subjectivity in Two Chinese Fictional Dream Narratives of the Qing”Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident, 42 | 2018, 179-203.

Electronic reference

Aude Lucas, “Disguised Subjectivity in Two Chinese Fictional Dream Narratives of the Qing”Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident [Online], 42 | 2018, Online since 01 December 2020, connection on 16 May 2021. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Aude Lucas

(fr) Doctorante du Centre de Recherche sur les Civilisations de l’Asie orientale (CRCAO-UMR 8155) et de l’université Paris Diderot (ED 131). Sa thèse en littérature chinoise explore les aspects de l’écriture subjective dans les récits oniriques de fiction issus d’œuvres majeures du début et du milieu des Qing. Sa recherche tourne autour des histoires impliquant le surnaturel – incluant des thèmes tels que le voyage aux enfers, la mort et la renaissance.
(en) Ph. D. student at the East Asian Civilisations Research Centre (CRCAO-UMR 8155) and Université Paris Diderot (Doctoral School 131). Her doctoral dissertation explores the aspects of subjective writing in Chinese fictional dream accounts of major works of the early and mid-Qing period. Her research revolves around stories of the supernatural—including themes such as journeys to the netherworld, death, and rebirth.

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