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From Zero to Hero: Coloring the narrative of the Siege of Yanmen

Wednesday 23 February 2022
Zoom meeting

The story of how Li Yuan 李淵 (566–635) and his second son, Li Shimin 李世民 (c. 598–649), rose through the ranks and prepared and executed their rebellion from their powerbase in Taiyuan 太原 and founded a dynasty that later became known as the ‘Golden Age’ of Chinese history is one of the most well-known stories in Chinese history. While earlier analyses of this story in different narrative texts are mostly context-based semantic analyses of content, this presentation aims to shed more light on the narratological aspects of those narrative texts by investigating one scene from the story – when Eastern Turks besieged Yanmen 雁門 and surrounded Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty (r. 604–618) – across five narrative texts. I will use narratology to understand, analyze, and evaluate the variations between them.

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