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The Theme of Chastity in «Hau Ch'iu Chuan» and Parallel Western Fiction


Kai Chong Cheung

Although widely divergent in cultural traditions, Chinese and European Literatures share similar attitudes toward feminine chastity. For this reason, the first Chinese novel to be translated into a European language, Hau Ch'iu Chuan, known in English as The Fortunate Union, was widely acclaimed in England, France and Germany. Parallels in plot, tone, and moral attitudes are to be found in Richardson's Clarissa, Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield, and Manzoni's I promessi sposi.
Contents: Hau Ch'iu Chuan as example of the scholar-beauty genre, as the first Chinese novel translated in the West; the reception of Hau Ch'iu Chuan in Europe: Thomas Percy, Goldsmith, Grimm, Goethe; the merging of sentimentalism and morality: Richardson, Goldsmith, Manzoni.