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Lecture - 2020/21 Yip So Man Wat Memorial Lecture
"Elegance and Vulgarity: The Promise and Peril of Things in Ming-Qing Literature 雅俗分際:明清文學的物情與物累", with guest speaker Dr. Wai-yee Li (Harvard University)

Abstract: How is value assigned to things? What is the line between the refinement of good taste and the force of obsession? Is elegance compromised by self-consciousness? How can an object of appreciation be both commodity and anti-commodity (inasmuch as true appreciation and the greatest worth are not measurable in economic terms)? Are elegance or vulgarity determined by affirming social consensus or challenging it? How do the fellowship and competition among connoisseurs drive the definition of elegance? Why are “elegant things” associated with nature and reclusion but also embedded in social relations among the rich and the powerful? Can good taste become bad taste, and vice versa? Professor Wai-yee Li will discuss the figure of the vulgar connoisseur in Jin Ping Mei, the contradictions of elegance in a story by Li Yu (1611-1680), and the implications of redefining elegance and vulgarity in The Story of the Stone.

Jan 20, 2021 04:00 PM in Vancouver

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