Truyền kỳ, which is a genre of fantasy short stories, was formed and developed in the historic period of medieval literature of Vietnam in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Despite being derived from a similar Chinese genre, the truyền kỳ of Vietnam was the work of the endogenous development of the national fantasy short story, which was closely associated with folk literature and historical prose. However, at the time of its inception, as well as at the glorious top of this genre, truyền kỳ had never been accepted as an official genre. It was rather a metaphor for unorthodox discourse in formal Confucian society. The reason is that truyền kỳ founded the first elements of folk narrative genres that were considered inferior and which Confucius advised Confucians to reject. Therefore, truyền kỳ deeply influenced Confucian doctrines, yet in this genre by itself, the deficiencies of Confucian philosophy related to the metaphysical world were exposed in competition with other non Confucian religions that had emerged, such as Buddhism, Taoism, and especially folklore. By analyzing ghost stories that represent the most typical case or expression of the complex relationship between Confucianism and folklore in the Vietnamese truyền kỳ genre, this article concludes that all the ontological crises of Confucianists that manifested in truyền kỳ derived from this tradition of folklore which created a minor discourse of a Confucian literatus who wrote on the periphery of official Confucianism.
Ngan, Nguyen Thi Kim.
"Confucianism and Folklore in Vietnamese Fantasy Short Stories: The Case of Ghost Stories ."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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