The Popularity of Hongloumeng Tuyong and the Paradigm Shift in “The Literary Mind of Gifted Scholars”—The 19th Century Maritime Literature and Culture in Light of Gai Qi

Project Details


This project intends to restore the 19th century maritime art, literature, and culture through anexamination of a then cultural phenomenon—the enduring popularity of Hongloumeng tuyong(The Poemsfor Illustrated Dream of the Red Chamber) for over two centuries. The purpose of the project is tounderstand the structural shifting from the hipster culture of “talents from the southern Yangtze river basin”to that of the culture of Shanghai talents, in order to make manifest and to represent an alternative context ofmodern Chinese culture history.Gai Qi’s Hongloumeng tuyong is a mixed genre work combing fiction, illustrations, lyrics, and songs—awork presenting a culture which worships whatever is considered refined, carefree, and delightful—a cultureheld dear by those “talents from the southern Yangtze river basin.” The publishing, reprinting, and circulatingof the text has survived the change of the dynasties. Moreover, the phenomenon presents the literaryparadigm shifting which is consistent with the changing and alternation of those talents’ identities. Original,overabundant, and self-subvert in psychology and emotion, as well as in cultural structure, Hongloumengtuyong indicates to a certain cultural process. Originally, the work is a tribute to the traditional study of theRed Chamber. Since Huai Pu the Hermit printed and released the book, society had since opened toappreciate illustrations. The prevailing Philistinism of the society has thus incurred self-criticism amongthose literati and eventually encouraged Han Bangqin in innuendo in the voice of Gai Qi himself in his TheSing-Song Girls of Shanghai. This process also serves as a metaphor representing Chinese graphic textsadvancing from pre-modernism to modernism. The mechanical reproduction of the book also reveals anelement of metaphoric postmodern aspect.
Effective start/end date1/08/1731/07/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Gai Qi
  • Hongloumeng tuyong
  • Paradigm Shift in “The Literary Mind of Gifted Scholars
  • ”Shanghai literati and talents


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