Writing and Law in Late Imperial China: Crime, Conflict, and Judgment

Paperback | February 17, 2009

byRobert E. Hegel, Katherine N. Carlitz

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In this fascinating, multidisciplinary volume, scholars of Chinese history, law, literature, and religions explore the intersections of legal practice with writing in many different social contexts. They consider the overlapping concerns of legal culture and the arts of crafting persuasive texts in a range of documents including crime reports, legislation, novels, prayers, and law suits. Their focus is the late Ming and Qing periods (c. 1550-1911); their documents range from plaints filed at the local level by commoners, through various texts produced by the well-to-do, to the legal opinions penned by China's emperors.

Writing and Law in Late Imperial China explores works of crime-case fiction, judicial handbooks for magistrates and legal secretaries, popular attitudes toward clergy and merchants as reflected in legal plaints, and the belief in a parallel, otherworldly judicial system that supports earthly justice.

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In this fascinating, multidisciplinary volume, scholars of Chinese history, law, literature, and religions explore the intersections of legal practice with writing in many different social contexts. They consider the overlapping concerns of legal culture and the arts of crafting persuasive texts in a range of documents including crime ...

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Historians and scholars of Chinese and comparative literature look at the influence of the Ming and Qing dynasties (c. 1550-1911) legal culture on literature and the influence of literary conventions on the presentation of legal cases. Essays explore works of crime-case fiction, judicial handbooks for magistrates and legal secretaries,...

Robert E. Hegel is Liselotte Dieckmann Professor of Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Katherine Carlitz is adjunct professor of Chinese literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Other contributors include Thomas Buoye, Pengsheng Chiu, Maram Epstein, Yasuhio Karasawa, Paul R. Katz, Mark McNicholas, Jonathan...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6.02 × 0.88 inPublished:February 17, 2009Publisher:University of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295989130

ISBN - 13:9780295989136

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviations and TerminologyIntroduction: Writing and the Law / Robert E. Hegel

Part I. Rhetoric and Persuasion1. Making a Case: Characterizing the Filial Son / Maram Epstein2. Explaining the Shrew: Narratives of Spousal Violence and the Critique of Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century Criminal Cases / Janet Theiss3. Between Oral and Written Cultures: Buddhist Monks in Qing Legal Plaints / Yasuhiko Karasawa4. The Art of Persuasian in Literature and Law / Robert E. Hegel

Part II. Legal Discourse and the Power of the State5. Filial Felons: Leniency and Legal Reasoning in Qing China / Thomas Buoye6. The Discourse on Insolvency and Negligence in Eighteenth-Century China / Pengsheng Chiu7. Poverty Tales and Statutory Politics in Mid-Qing Fraud Cases / Mark McNicholas8. Indictment Rituals and the Judicial Continuum in Late Imperial China / Paul R. Katz

Part III. Literature and Legal Procedure9. Reading Court Cases from the Song and the Ming: Fact and Fiction, Law and Literature / James St. Andre10. Beyond Bao: Moral Ambiguity and the Law in Late Imperial Chinese Narrative Literature / Daniel M. Youd11. Genre and Justice in Late Qing China: Wu Woyao's Strange Case of Nine Murders and Its Antecedents / Katherine Carlitz

Part IV. Retrospective12. Interpretive Communities: Legal Meaning in Qing Law / Jonathan Ocko

GlossaryBibliographyContributorsIndex

Editorial Reviews

In this fascinating, multidisciplinary volume, scholars of Chinese history, law, literature, and religions explore the intersections of legal practice with writing in many different social contexts. They consider the overlapping concerns of legal culture and the arts of crafting persuasive texts in a range of documents including crime reports, legislation, novels, prayers, and law suits. Their focus is the late Ming and Qing periods (c. 1550-1911); their documents range from plaints filed at the local level by commoners, through various texts produced by the well-to-do, to the legal opinions penned by China's emperors.Writing and Law in Late Imperial China explores works of crime-case fiction, judicial handbooks for magistrates and legal secretaries, popular attitudes toward clergy and merchants as reflected in legal plaints, and the belief in a parallel, otherworldly judicial system that supports earthly justice.Writing and Law in Late Imperial China makes an important contribution to Chinese legal history. Apart from the original research on which many of the essays are based, its turn to literary methodologies in the study of law yields not only new information about late imperial law in China, but new kinds of knowledge about it. - Teemu Ruskola, American University