This paper examines the concept of “adventure” in a series of stories by a well-known Chinese Muslim writer Zhang Chengzhi (b. 1948). Zhang is famous for searching out and depicting landscapes, especially in northwest China. This paper will explore in what ways adventures in landscapes become a crucial mechanism for advancing plot development. How do adventures in Zhang’s stories create grand space-time in novels through transformations of different geographic topographies and historical moments? Why are these adventures depicted with attributes of the sublime? More importantly, what is the intertextual relationship between the adventures of the characters in the text and Zhang’s journey outside the text (i.e., in real life)? How does the space of adventures interplay between life and crisis for both the characters and writer? This study argues that in adventure stories, Zhang constructs a pattern of integration between the Jahriyya Muslims’ daily lives and their transcendent pursuits and a pattern of self-development and self-sublimation by virtue of telling adventure stories. Adventure is the allegorical device for both Zhang and the characters to practice the sublime—to achieve and reveal their physical and spiritual strength and ethnic characteristics. As such, this paper further asks in what ways the narrative of such a personal bildungsroman is intertextually identified with the subaltern community of Jahriyya Muslims, both within and outside the texts in the context of Han-centered Chinese culture.


adventure, Jahriyya, landscapel, sublime identity, Zhang Chengzhi

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
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Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
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Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
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University of Cape Town (South Africa)
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
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University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
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University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
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Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)