Writing pirates : vernacular fiction and oceans in late Ming China

Research output: Scholarly Books | Reports | Literary WorksBook (Author)peer-review


In Writing Pirates, Yuanfei Wang connects Chinese literary production to emerging discourses of pirates and the sea. In the late Ming dynasty, so-called “Japanese pirates” raided southeast coastal China. Hideyoshi invaded Korea. Europeans sailed for overseas territories, and Chinese maritime merchants and emigrants founded diaspora communities in Southeast Asia. Travel writings, histories, and fiction of the period jointly narrate pirates and China’s Orient in maritime Asia. Wang shows that the late Ming discourses of pirates and the sea were fluid, ambivalent, and dialogical; they simultaneously entailed imperialistic and personal narratives of the “other”: foreigners, renegades, migrants, and marginalized authors. At the center of the discourses, early modern concepts of empire, race, and authenticity were intensively negotiated. Connecting late Ming literature to the global maritime world, Writing Pirates expands current discussions of Chinese diaspora and debates on Sinophone language and identity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAnn Arbor
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Commissioning bodySocial Science Research Council
Number of pages218
ISBN (Electronic)9780472902484
ISBN (Print)9780472132546, 9780472038510
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This publication was made possible in part by an award from the James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation.

A slightly different version of chapter 2 was published as: “Java in Discord: Unofficial History, Vernacular Fiction, and the Discourse of Imperial Identity in Late Ming China (1570–1620),” in Positions: Asia Critique, (2019) 27 (4), 623–52.
A section in chapter 1, in a revised form, was published as “Siam as Chinese Utopia: Overseas Chinese, Colonialism, and Race in the Seventeenth-Century Chinese Novel The Sequel to the Water Margin” in Journal of the Siam Society, vol. 108: 2 (October 2020), 1–16.

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by Yuanfei Wang.


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