Real Life in China at the Height of Empire : Revealed by the Ghosts of Ji Xiaolan
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, the scholar and wit Ji Xiaolan published five collections of anecdotes and discourses on the interaction between the mundane and the spirit worlds, incorporating earthly life stories and happenings. Containing Ji's thoughts and others' experiences, these tales concern peasants, servants, merchants, governors, and ministers; take place throughout the Qing empire; and recount comedy and tragedy, cruelty and kindness, corruption and integrity, and erudition and ignorance. Some stories use ghosts to satirize men and manners; others straightforwardly examine beliefs and practices. Altogether, they draw a portrait of the time unmatched in scope and variety. Selections are organized thematically and include a contextualizing preface. An introduction appraises Ji's own career and the atmosphere in which he lived.