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分享书目：The Carnal Prayer Mat (肉蒲团)
地点：Fordham University (113 West 60th Street)校内，具体地址报名后通知。
Spencer Born is a recent graduate of the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently enrolled in a training course in Psychophysical Education at the Dimon Institute. During his time at TC he became acquainted with the work of Dr. Theodore Dimon, under whom he’s studied for the past two years. Most recently he had the opportunity to introduce Dr. Dimon at his book-launch lecture this spring (https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=22&v=cXCnvQ6YxaQ). Spencer also acted as lead organizer for TEDxTeachersCollege 2014 (http://www.TED.com/TEDx/events/10743).
Prior to entering graduate school Spencer lived and worked in NYC as a bartender. During that time he experimented with various interests including screenwriting, comedy, film-making, and public speaking. Spencer is former president of Humorous Toastmasters club of Manhattan and holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida. Before moving to New York in 2009, Spencer spent a summer in Spain and western Europe, where he participated in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, hiked the Pyrenees, and hitch-hiked across France and Belgium. Spencer has also spent a summer in Japan and would like to one day live and work in China.
The Carnal Prayer Mat (肉蒲团)
Widely known in China and among some in the West as a work of pornographic wonder; its imaginative ribaldry seems to know no bounds. To this point Patrick Hanan, the eminent Harvard scholar of vernacular Chinese literature, has, in his introduction to his translation of The Carnal Prayer Mat, made light of Li Yu’s impressive penchant for comic invention. Hanan begins his introduction to the Carnal Prayer Mat with a quote from Li Yu himself: “Broadly speaking, everything I have ever written was intended to make people laugh.” But Hanan’s appreciation of Li Yu’s talents as an author have more to do with comic re-invention than writing comedy for its own sake. Hanan writes that in the Carnal Prayer Mat Li Yu succeeds in mocking the conventions of Romantic Chinese literature and intimates that this clever treatment of mainstream culture is the truly attractive quality of Li Yu’s writing.
For those not familiar with this novel: The story follows the striving of Scholar Vesperus, the Before Midnight Scholar, to seduce the most beautiful woman alive before he takes vows as a monk and conversely strives for enlightenment. Because Abbot Lone Peak cannot initially convince the young talented scholar to forgo his sexual quest and stay on the mountain to attain enlightenment, Scholar Vesperus is said to then be seeking enlightenment on the “carnal” prayer mat, meaning that some edification will be had in his sexual escapades. The Carnal Prayer Mat is a work of erotica in its vivid (and imaginative) depictions of sex.
It may have become apparent in the course of reading the book blurb above that The Carnal Prayer Mat may be more than erotica. Scholars regard Li Yu and his literature variously, and assign different purposes to The Carnal Prayer Mat. Patrick Hanan makes light of Li Yu’s irreverent imagination, Franz Kuhn argues that the novel is a moralistic message delivered in a sexy envelope, and Chun-shu Chang and Shelley Hsueh-lun Chang have enumerated the myriad ways that Li Yu as a person, and consequently, his work, have been devalued. The work of Hanan, Kuhn, Chang & Chang, as well as Nathan Mao provide a helpful perspective of the life and times of Li Yu, who was by every account a fascinating individual. Becoming acquainted with the author and the historical period he lived in (the decline of the Ming Dynasty) provides a context to better understand this most unappreciated work of Chinese literature.
生于1611，卒于1680，初名仙侣，后改名渔，字谪凡，号笠翁。汉族，浙江金华兰溪夏李村人。明末清初文学家、戏曲家 、戏曲理论家、美学家。著有《笠翁十种曲》、《笠翁一家言》、《十二楼 、《闲情偶寄》等五百多万字，改定《金瓶梅》，倡编《芥子园画传》。李渔自幼聪颖，素有才子之誉，世称李十郎，家设戏班，至各地演出，从而积累了丰富的戏曲创作、演出经验，提出了较为完善的戏剧理论体系，被后世誉为“中国理论始祖”、“世界喜剧大师”、“东方莎士比亚”，是休闲文化的倡导者、文化产业的先行者，被列入世界文化名人之一。
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