Myth as a transforming vision : a comparative approach to the roles of myth in Chinese fiction as exemplified by Hung-lou meng

by Chan, Ching-kiu

Abstract (Summary)

ENTITLED "Myth as a rransforming Vision:

A Comparative Approach to

the Roles of Mytr in Chinese Fiction as Exemplified by Hung-Iou meng

SUBMITTED 13Y Stephen Ching-kiu Chen FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of PhilosopQi AT THE Universit1-9f Hong Kong

IN Apr il 1981

By a comparative approach, borrowing from a sy('"'\thesis 0 f conceptual frameworks and critical methodologies such as sociological and psychological theories of myth, archetypal criticism, symbolic-form philosophy , Taoist aesthetics and semiotic mythologies, the pres~nt study tries to reveal the similarities and differences in the role, function and usage of myth in the processes of literary creation and criticism; and to explore the behavioral pattern and mode of consciousness that distinguish the Chinese frof:l the Viesterners in using mytfi---or in re-composing the mythic vision as a whole--to s~it their creative urge and intuitive power.


The first part discusses some possible functions of myth in literature by attempting to eludicate, theoretically, several dimensions in the emergence of the mythic vision." Myth' can be discovered functionally, "as social or political norm; it can be envisaged archetypally, as psychological, cultural or?even trans-cultural patterns of human expression; it 'can "be further envisioned in the mythopoeic mode of symbolic consciousness, as a speci fic type of mediumistic perspective (such as Tao); and it may eventually be captured and used as language--the primary mode. of human communication--both to interpret and to regulate the realistic order by resolving chains of antitheses in an unending series of

semiological construct.

While some of the theoretical aspects discussed in Part One are

recapi tulated. in the Appendix by a survey-analysis of the Chinese

studies of myth in fiction, the second part, is an effort to incorporate theory and practice in a more comprehensive case-study. My interest lies in directing the various theoretical spokes towards a common hub, so that our critical methodology is geared to the revelation of different creative and .critical forms in a work of


The practical criticism is intended to frame these

divergent approaches in the creative and critical forms of Hung-Iou


When different points of departure are set for the

interpretation of the Chinese' "novel," we see the critical spokes

rotating round the central hub of myth in such a way that the

"wheel" of meaning is set into motion.

Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:cao xueqin ca 1717 1763 hong lou meng mythology chinese


Date of Publication:01/01/1981

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