Brendan O’Kane, moderated by David Moser

Sunday, March 18, 8pm |60 RMB - purchase link

The novel Jin Ping Mei (金瓶梅, translated as The Plum in the Golden Vase or The Golden Lotus) is best known as a work of pornography, and has been officially banned in China for most of its history. No less a luminary than Lu Xun praised it as a scathing work of social commentary; its early readers ranked it among the “Four Masterworks” of Ming fiction, and the 17th century critic Zhang Zhupo lamented that the book’s reputation for obscenity came from readers who paid attention only to the obscene parts. Brendan O’Kane will discuss the world in which Jin Ping Mei was written, its literary aftershocks, and what the novel’s English translator David Roy has called its “uncompromising moral vision.” Moderated by David Moser. In association with SupChina.

Brendan O’Kane, after spending a decade in Beijing working as a translator, podcast host, and Twitter crap-poster, realised that he was allowed to leave. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate focusing on late imperial Chinese fiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

David Moser is Associate Dean of Peking University’s Yenching Academy. He is the author of A Billion Voices: China’s Search for a Common Language, published by Penguin in 2016. He holds a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan. In addition to his academic activities and frequent media appearances on CCTV and BBC, he has played jazz piano in numerous groups and Beijing venues for the last 25 years.

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