Friday, September 14

Homework #3 is due at the start of class today.

Reading assignment: Warring States China, pp. 22-41

The reading for Friday is by and large simply three tales, one a direct translation. These three should give you a pretty lively picture of what was going on in third century B.C. China, though the tales don't do what Friday's lecture did:  provide analytic structures for the description of social change. What I'd like to do Friday is discuss the three tales in terms of what they show us about social change and the variety of social dynamics that characterized individual major states during this transitional period.

The three tales describe events in different states, Qi, Wei, and Qin. In some ways, each of three tales shows a continuity with the Spring and Autumn profiles of each of these states (taking Wei to be a continuation of the Jin tradition -- since we don't have a Spring & Autumn narrative of Qin to look back to, you might instead recall general descriptions of early Qin, including our discussion on Friday). I don't want to press this too far -- there's a lot of fiction in these stories, and in the case of Lü Buwei, the historian (Sima Qian, of the Han Dynasty era) was clearly doing a hatchet job in part, anxious to throw whatever mud he could on the First Emperor of the Qin.  Anticipating some discussion on Friday, reflect before class on the following three questions:

1) In what respects does the social dynamic of Lord Mengchang's court and his relation to Feng Xuan echo the culture of Spring & Autumn Qi, which you should recall through the tale of Duke Huan and Guan Zhong?

2) In what respects does the social dynamic of Lord Xinling's court and his relation to Hou Ying resemble the social dynamic of Jin, recalling Duke Wen and Hu Yan?

3) In what respects does the role of Lü Buwei link up to what you know about earlier eras of Qin -- here you may think both of what you've read and heard about Spring & Autumn Qin, and also the much later career of Shang Yang.