Scholar-officials of late medieval China were not only enthusiastic in amateur storytelling, but also showed unprecedented interest in recording stories on different aspects of literati life. These stories appeared in diverse forms, including narrative poems, "tales of the marvelous," "records of the strange," historical miscellanies, and transformation texts. Through storytelling, literati explored their own changing place in a society that was making its final transition from hereditary aristocracy to a meritocracy ostensibly open to all. Literati Storytelling shows how these writings offer crucial insights into the reconfiguration of the Chinese elite, which monopolized literacy, social prestige, and political participation in imperial China.
Manling Luo is assistant professor of Chinese literature at Indiana University.