Elena Suet-ying Chiu's new book is the first comprehensive study in English on zidishu 子弟書 (bannerman tales), a late Qing performance genre most closely identified with the banner community of Beijing. A full-length study of zidishu is long overdue. This one answers all the questions that arise from the fact that nearly all zidishu were composed in Chinese and that most are based on classic works of Chinese fiction, such as Hong lou meng 紅樓夢 (Dream of the Red Chamber) and Liaozhai zhiyi 聊齋志異 (Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio). The first question, of course, is what this genre tells us about Manchu identity. Chiu situates her discussion within the discourse of current scholarship on Qing history, in which the idea that the Manchu conquerors were gradually “sinified” by their immersion in Chinese culture has been replaced by a more sophisticated conception...

You do not currently have access to this content.