Traditionally, scholars of Chinese literature have viewed Wu Jingzi’s The Scholars (ca. 1750) as the first satiric novel of Chinese literature. Yenna Wu (Chinese literature, U. of California, Riverside) counters that it was preceded by such works as Xi Zhou Sheng’s Marriage as Retribution, Awakening the World (ca.1661). After arguing for the broadening of the parameters of the definition of the satiric novel and the inclusion of a number of novels previously excluded from the category, Wu devotes the bulk of the work to the presentation of Marriage as Retribution as a significant example of the satiric and examines Sheng’s strategies and goals in the novel’s composition.

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