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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Shan’ge 山歌 is a collection of popular songs in Wu dialect by the late Ming scholar Feng Menglong 冯梦龙 (1574-1646). Due to a lack of detailed literary analysis of the songs, and a lack of appreciation of these songs from the perspective of rhetorical aesthetics, I aim to provide a close reading of the siqing (私情) songs in Shan’ge. With the intention to offer a fresh perspective into the depiction of emotions and sentimental feelings, as well as the various ways of presenting the people’s perception of love and sexual desire in these songs, I endeavor to both enrich the understanding of Shan’ge and call critical attention to the subject mater of siqing. In my thesis, I argue that these Siqing songs are strong spokesmen and representatives of genuineness promoted by Feng Menglong in the preface of Shan’ge. I will examine how genuineness was promoted by the late Ming scholars and particularly, how Feng Menglong views genuineness and how he utilizes genuineness in the songs as a means to promote vernacular literature. The representative siqing songs will be categorized and explored in three sections, with the purpose of answering the following questions: How could Feng’s promotion of these popular songs be situated in the late Ming discourse of genuineness? How does Shan’ge vividly create a world that not only celebrates true and romantic love but also allows the display of the vent of irresistible desire, and the rustic expression of sex? How are carriers of genuine qing explicitly portrayed in these songs through their ingenious conversations and tricks in love affairs? And lastly, how do the songs in different ways showcase a vivid and dynamic picture of a sexually liberate and joy-oriented late Ming Suzhou?


First Advisor

Elena Suet-Ying Chiu