english lit_2066 - Margin the literati in The Scholars...

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Margin, the literati in The Scholars. Titles are already a clue—what would European titles do without proper names—but here, not even one; and these are not just random novels, they are four of the six ‘great masterpieces’ of the Chinese canon, their titles (and their heroes) matter. So, groups. Large; and with even larger character-systems around them: Chinese critics have identified over 600 characters in The Scholars, 800 in The Water Margin and the Jin Ping Mei, 975 in The Story of the Stone. And since size is seldom just size—a story with a thousand characters is not like a story with fifty characters, only twenty times bigger: it’s a different story—all this ends up generating a structure

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