Experiencing the Famine: The Hierarchy of Suffering in a Famine Song from Xiezhou

Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley

in Tears from Iron

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253025
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934221 | DOI:
Experiencing the Famine: The Hierarchy of Suffering in a Famine Song from Xiezhou

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Liu Xing's famine account reveals different levels of suffering during the disaster. A local view of the disaster from one social position, it records a survivor's emotional, physical, and spiritual turmoil. It is important to hear Liu's voice so that imperial, treaty-port, and foreign descriptions of the disaster do not drown out the ground-level experience of the famine. This chapter also draws on a famine lament from Hongdong County in Pingyang Prefecture and on gazetteer essays from other counties in southern Shanxi. Finally, a rich array of folk stories about the famine and about Yan Jingming's relief efforts have survived in the Xie area. Several of these stories, along with additional written accounts and stele inscriptions collected by local historians based in Yuncheng, were published in the late 1980s by the city's gazetteer office and by its wenshi ziliao office.

Keywords: Liu Xung; famine song; famine lament; gazetteer essays; Yan Jingming; starvation

Chapter.  10192 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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