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.
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 Ocko, James St. Andre, Janet Theiss, and Daniel Youd.
PrefaceAbbreviations and TerminologyIntroduction: Writing and the Law / Robert E. Hegel Part One | 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 Two | 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 Three | 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 Four | Retrospective12. Interpretive Communities: Legal Meaning in Qing Law / Jonathan Ocko GlossaryBibliographyContributorsIndex