The Lady of Linshui Pacifies Demons
A Seventeenth-Century Novel
- PUBLISHED: February 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Literature / Fiction, Asian Studies / China, History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 304 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- ISBN: 9780295748351
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
The Lady of Linshui—the goddess of women, childbirth, and childhood—is still venerated in south China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Her story evolved from the life of Chen Jinggu in the eighth century and blossomed in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) into vernacular short fiction, legends, plays, sutras, and stele inscriptions at temples where she is worshipped. The full-length novel The Lady of Linshui Pacifies Demons narrates Chen Jinggu’s lifelong struggle with and eventual triumph over her spirit double and rival, the White Snake demon. Among accounts of goddesses in late imperial China, this work is unique in its focus on the physical aspects of womanhood, especially the dangers of childbirth, and in its dramatization of the contradictory nature of Chinese divinities. This unabridged, annotated translation provides insights into late imperial Chinese religion, the lives of women, and the structure of families and local society.
Authors & Contributors
Kristin Ingrid Fryklund is the translator of The Lady of Linshui: A Chinese Female Cult. Mark Edward Lewis is Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Chinese Culture at Stanford University and author of China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty. Brigitte Baptandier is director of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique at Université Paris X, Nanterre and author of an ethnographic study, translated into English as The Lady of Linshui: A Chinese Female Cult.
Fryklund's translation of the novel is erudite; Lewis and Baptandier provide a fascinating introduction; and the end matter is exemplary, comprising endnotes, bilingual glossaries of key personages and terms, and a detailed bibliography. Valuable for those interested in Asian humanities or religious studies.- Choice
The expertise and care of all involved in this production speak from every page of this book. This is indeed an extremely welcome addition to the available body of renditions of truly popular literature. Its vivid contents will not only surprise many Western readers but also many of our Chinese students.- Journal of Chinese Studies
The translation by Kristin Ingrid Fryklund is accessible and fluid...promises to be a fascinating read for anyone interested in magic and shapeshifting creatures, sexual passions and sisterhood, transmigration and reincarnation, and rewards and punishments, both in this life and in the afterlife. It is a most welcoming addition to the literature on Chinese legends and religious studies, representations of women and the making of female deities, and the impact of popular legends and popular religions on our everyday practices.- Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews
The value of this text (and of its translation) lies in the tremendous amount of insight it provides into the world that produced it and into the expectations of its intended readers...[R]equired reading for anyone desiring an understanding of practical religions in Chinese communities in recent centuries.- Journal of the American Oriental Society
A gripping tale. This translation answers to the growing interest and fascination with goddess cults across academic disciplines. In Asian studies, this text about the Chinese goddess of Daoism and popular religion is a welcome addition to scholarship long dominated by studies of Guan Yin and Mazu.- Mayfair Yang, University of California, Santa Barbara
Adds to our store of Daoist novels in English translation. . . . An important resource and contribution to the field.- Livia Kohn, Boston University