Forthcoming: “Chinese Poetry as Soul Summoning” by Nicholas Morrow Williams

With “Chinese Poetry as Soul Summoning,” Nicholas Morrow Williams has written a “masterful study of the Elegies of Chu (Chuci)” that looks at the soul of the soul (hun) and the soul-summoning ritual in Chinese literature from ancient times up to the twentieth century. Robert Egan of Stanford University writes:

“This is a masterful study of the Elegies of Chu (Chuci), particularly of the foregrounding that ancient collection of Chinese songs and shamanistic incantations gives to the function of the human ‘soul’ in life and the afterlife, and the many ways the hauntingly beautiful and, at the same time, vexingly indeterminate Elegies has been appropriated and re-created through some two thousand years of later Chinese poetry. To treat in one book such a range of chronological periods and literary genres as these texts represent is a tour de force. Very few scholars working in premodern Chinese literature would dare to undertake such a study; and it is hard to think of anyone else who could do it so well.”

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