World of Thieves: The Swindle Story as Genre

Comparative Literature Luncheon Series
Sep 19, 2016
12:15 PM to 01:30 PM
102 Kern

Dr. Christopher Rea, University of British Columbia

China in the 17th century, England in the 18th century, and the United States in the 19th century each saw the publication of story collections about swindles. Some, like Zhang Yingyu’s Book of Swindles and P.T. Barnum’s The Humbugs of the World, related ostensibly true stories; others, like Richard King’s The New Cheats of London Exposed, presented stock scenarios. Such cautionary tales had great entertainment value, and they also appear in some of the most influential novels of the age. What do they share in common as a genre?

Christopher Rea is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (California, 2015); editor of three books including, with Nicolai Volland, of The Business of Culture (UBC Press, 2015). He is currently co-translating a Ming dynasty story collection called The Book of Swindles.

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