Seeing Is (Non)Believing and More: Experiencing Further Adventures on the Journey to the West in Seventeenth-Century China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Further Adventures on the Journey to the West (Xiyou bu, 1641) is a quintessential literati novella that has inspired critical investigations in disciplines such as formal realism, structuralist narratology, psychological realism, stream-of-consciousness, and dream interpretation. This paper examines how the novella, in the form of a printed book, facilitated a reading experience of the text as a Buddhist allegory for readers' self-interrogation, recognition, and alteration. Spectatorship plays a key role in readers' experience of literature in its cognitive capacity: if Monkey as an allegory of the mind is the subject enacted by the text constantly positioned as a spectator of his own dreamscape, the subject enacted by the reader observes Monkey's journey as a performative terrain sustained by historical and social imaginaries. In addition, illustrations function as a paratextual device that forges new image-text relationships to transcend the linear narrative, thereby altering one's textual knowledge as part of the reading experience. By investigating the act of seeing that transpires on three levels, this study hopes to gain insight on a gnostic experience between seventeenth-century readers and the xiaoshuo narrative as literary and material artifact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalEast Asian Publishing and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Journey to the West
  • reading experience
  • spectatorship
  • xiaoshuo narrative
  • Xiyou bu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Library and Information Sciences


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