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King Hu's A Touch of Zen$
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Stephen Teo

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9789622098152

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622098152.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2019. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

Pu Songling and the Spider

Pu Songling and the Spider

Chapter:
(p.16) (p.17) 2 Pu Songling and the Spider
Source:
King Hu's A Touch of Zen
Author(s):

Stephen Teo

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789622098152.003.0002

This chapter goes to the formal analysis of the film's narrative by discussing the symbolic motifs which King Hu embedded within the film in order to interpret and build on the original story in Pu Songling's Liaozhai zhiyi, a vital source of the narrative. The story is Xia Nü, rendered as The Magnanimous Girl in Herbert Giles's translation. Liaozhai zhiyi was published in its earliest form in 1679. Pu Songling spent the whole of his adult life writing and collecting the ghost stories and tales of the supernatural in the anthology. The appearance of the spider in the very first shot seems to set the film up for a psychoanalytical reading of the film, in that the recurring imagery of the spider and the web is an overhanging structural motif.

Keywords:   Liaozhai zhiyi, King Hu, The Magnanimous Girl, Xia Nü, spider, psychoanalytical reading, Pu Songling, symbolic motifs, ghost stories

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