Category: Book Reviews

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Ming: A Powerful Dynasty on Display

Did you ever notice the special exhibition last year in the British Museum – ‘Ming, 50 years that changed China’? Do you know the Ming dynasty and its history? As the introduction of the exhibition stated, “the fifty years between 1400 and 1450 saw China’s Ming dynasty establish Beijing as...

The God of War 2

The God of War: Guan Yu (关羽)

Guan Yu (关羽) in San Guo Yan Yi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) In the Three Kingdoms’ vast world, nearly one thousand characters cross the stage. Among the characters, Guan Yu (关羽, Lord Guan) is the principal fictional creation of the novel. The plot centres on him more than on...

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One Man’s Bible Revisited

In my previous article, I reviewed Gao Xingjiang’s semi-autobiographical novel, One Man’s Bible, with a psychoanalytic approach, focusing on the concept of trauma and recovery. To some extent, Western readers are most likely to sympathize with this interpretation as it implicitly presupposes a neo-liberal humanist stance, which has been a...

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Diao Chan (貂蝉) — A Beauty in Three Kingdoms and Her Mysterious Ending

As one of Four Great Beauties of ancient China, Diao Chan (貂蝉) is the only one that stems from Chinese fiction and dramas with no historical reference. The other three, Wang Zhaojun (王昭君), Xi Shi (西施) and Yang Yuhuan (杨玉环) are well established in ancient Chinese history and are recorded...

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‘Playing with the Past’ and the interplay of history and video games (book review)

For a lifelong fan of video games, who has more recently transmogrified into an aspiring historian, the chance to review this book was too good to pass up. As its title suggests, ‘Playing with the Past’ brings together a collection of essays on the ways in which games present, discuss and promote...