Publication Title

Exploring Written Artefacts

Document Type

Book Chapter - Open Access

Department or Program

Asian Studies

Publication Date



Zidishu is a genre of sung verse narrative that flourished in northern China between the mid-eighteenth and the end of the nineteenth centuries. This article examines the earliest dated manuscript containing a text in this genre, copied in 1815 in Beijing, titled Yu Boya shuaiqin xie zhiyin zidishu (Yu Boya smashes his zither to mourn a friend, a youth book). The preface, appendix, marginal and chapter comments added to the main text by the copyist reveal him to have been a fashionable and erudite reader, whose diverse literary interests offer insights into zidishu's early audience and the ways in which elite readers engaged with popular texts. © 2021 Zhenzhen Lu, published by De Gruyter.

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This is the publisher's version of the work. This publication appears in Bates College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

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