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Reading for the Moral

Reading For The Moral: Exemplarity And The Confucian Moral Imagination In Seventeenth Century Chinese Short Fiction


Reading for the Moral offers an innovative reassessment of the nature of moral representation and exemplarity in Chinese vernacular fiction. Maria Franca Sibau focuses on two little-studied story collections published at the end of the Ming dynasty, Exemplary Words for the World (Xingshi yan, 1632) and Bell in the Still Night (Qingye zhong, c. 1645). Far from being tediously moralistic tales, these stories of loyal ministers, filial children, chaste widows, and selfless friends provide a deeper understanding of the five cardinal relationships central to Confucian ethics. They explore the inherent tension between what we might call textbook morality, on the one hand, and untidy everyday life, on the other. The stories often take a critical view of mechanical notions of retribution, countering it with the logic of virtue as its own reward. Conflict between passion and duty is typically resolved in favor of duty, a duty redefined with a palpable sense of urgency. In constructing vernacular representations of moral exemplars from the recent historical past rather than from remote or fictitious antiquity, the story compilers show how these virtues are not abstract or monolithic norms, but play out within the contingencies of time and space.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
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    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9781438469898
  • ISBN: 1438469896
  • Publication Year: 2018
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
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  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
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Conditions Guide
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