Myth and the Making of History

Narrating Early China with Sarah Allan

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Table of contents


1. The Place of Yi Yin in the Shang Pantheon
Zhu Fenghan

2. Cao E, the Filial Water Goddess: Gender and Text in the Promotion of a Two-Thousand-Year-Old Cult
Robin D. S. Yates

3. An Examination of Commentaries to Analects 7.14, "Confucius Listened to the Shao Performance in Qi"
Wang Yunfei

4. Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project and Archaeological Research on the Xia Dynasty
Li Boqian

5. Formation of the "Nine Provinces" according to the Tribute Payments Recorded in Oracle-Bone and Bronze Inscriptions
Shen Jianhua

6. The Tsinghua University Yue Gong qi shi Manuscript and Township Administration in the State of Yue during the Spring and Autumn Period
Wang Jinfeng

7. Marriage and Social Networks in Zhou China: Reflections on the Rules Governing Female Names in Bronze Inscriptions
Li Feng

8. The Faces of Cao Gui: Fact and Meaning in Warring States and Early Han Historiography
Andrew Meyer

9. Historical Narratives in Early Chinese Classics: The Case of the "Great King Leaving Bin" in Transmitted Texts and the Bamboo Slips of the Zhou xun
Cui Xiaojiao

10. Rebuilding King Wen: Paratext as Intellectual Biography in the Yi Zhou shu Preface
Paul Nicholas Vogt

11. Forging a "Meta-tradition": The Distinctive Philosophy of the Huainanzi
Harold D. Roth

Harold D. Roth

List of Contributors

Sheds new light on the relationship between myth and history in ancient China and the central role they have played in shaping early Chinese thought.


Myth and the Making of History examines the relationship between myth and history in early China, a topic that has been explored by American paleographer and scholar of ancient China Sarah Allan throughout her career. Allan has worked at a crucial and sensitive intersection, where myth and history collide at the very heart of China's origin story. Her work has created an intellectual space in which the disciplines of philosophy, history, anthropology, archeology, philology, and literature have come together, helping to change the way scholars conceive of historical patterns in China's past. In Myth and the Making of History, eleven senior and emerging scholars, from both China and the West, respond to the intellectual challenge raised by Allan's theoretical model of analysis of mythologized and historical figures (and even dynasties) that have intrigued scholars for generations and play a central role in the Chinese historical imagination. The book will be of great interest to all scholars and students of China—of whatever level and discipline—and, indeed, those concerned with other early civilizations as well.

Constance A. Cook is Professor of Chinese at Lehigh University; Christopher J. Foster is an independent scholar; and Susan Blader is Associate Professor Emerita of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures at Dartmouth College. Together they are also the coeditors of Bone, Bronze, and Bamboo: Unearthing Early China with Sarah Allan and Metaphor and Meaning: Thinking through Early China with Sarah Allan, both published by SUNY Press.


"The variety of sinological fields and research perspectives collected in this volume —historical, archeological, sociopolitical, literary, philological, and philosophical—is unique. In days of high academic and global awareness of China's decisive role in the present and its significance for the future, this volume reminds readers of its past, of how and why it became an important supranational player in the twenty-first century, bringing perspectives on Chinese myth and history that only scholars of early China can contribute." — Galia Patt-Shamir, Tel-Aviv University