John Christopher Hamm. Paper Swordsmen: Jin Yong and the Modern Chinese Martial Arts Novel. Honolulu: University of Hawa'ii Press, 2005.
Hardcover: 348 pages
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (November 30, 2004)
Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.0 inches
Professor John Christopher Hamm
Thursday, 10 March 2005, 7:00pm
University Book Store, 4326 University Way, 634-3400
The martial arts novel is one of the most distinctive and widely-read forms of modern Chinese fiction. In Paper Swordsmen, John Christopher Hamm offers the first in-depth English-language study of this fascinating and influential genre, focusing on the work of its undisputed twentieth-century master, Jin Yong.
Professor Hamm will speak about his book at this UW Book Store event, which is free and open to the public.
The Introduction (part of the book) could be read here:
About the Author
John Christopher Hamm is assistant professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington.
The martial arts novel is one of the most distinctive and widely-read forms of modern Chinese fiction. It is popular not only within Chinese-language communities but in translation throughout East Asia and in cinematic and other adaptations throughout the world. In Paper Swordsmen, John Christopher Hamm offers the first in-depth English-language study of this fascinating and influential genre, focusing on the work of its undisputed twentieth-century master, Jin Yong.
Hamm traces the narrative and thematic roots of the martial arts novel from early literary traditions through the fantastic tales of the Tang dynasty and the vernacular fiction of the Ming and Qing periods. He then addresses the twentieth-century reinvention of the genre as a form of mass entertainment, and the geopolitical and ideological background of the "New School" revival of martial arts fiction in postwar Hong Kong. Heading this revival were the works of Jin Yong, who is widely credited with elevating the genre from the ghetto of formula fiction to new heights of literary accomplishment.
Through close readings of Jin Yong's recognized masterpieces (from the early Book and Sword, through the ground-breaking Eagle-Shooting Heroes and The Giant Eagle and Its Companion, to The Deer and the Cauldron's riotous subversion of the genre), Hamm shows how these works combine a rich literary tradition with an extraordinary narrative artistry and an evolving appreciation of the political and cultural aspects of contemporary Chinese experience. Interwoven with analyses of the novels are explorations of Jin Yong's newspaper and publishing empire; the effects of his rising prominence as a journalist, entrepreneur, and political and cultural spokesperson on his fiction; and how his motivations and enterprises intersected with those of readers and critics in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.
Impressive and comprehensive, Paper Swordsmen will be welcomed by students of Chinese literature, cultural studies, history, political science, anthropology, and comparative literature as well as fans of martial arts fiction with an interest in the wider implications of the "Jin Yong phenomenon."
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments vii
A Note on Conventions xi
1 Introduction: The Literary and Historical Contexts of New School Martial Arts Fiction
2 Local Heroes: Guangdong School Martial Arts Fiction and the Colony of Hong Kong
3 The Marshes of Mount Liang Beyond the Sea: Jin Yong's Early Fiction and Postwar Hong Kong
4 National Passions: From The Eagle-Shooting Heroes to The Giant Eagle and Its Companion
5 The Empire of the Text: Jin Yong and Ming Pao
6 Beyond the Rivers and Lakes: The Smiling, Proud Wanderer
7 Revision and Canonization: From Ming Pao to The Collected Works of Jin Yong
8 Beyond Martial Arts Fiction: The Deer and the Cauldron
9 Coming Home: Jin Yong's Fiction in Mainland China
10 Jin Yong at the Century's End: The Wang Shuo Incident and Its Implications
Select Glossary of Chinese Characters