It is clear that the experience of Zheng He[鄭和] who made seven times voyage to the Western World exerted some far-reaching influences on the literature of late Ming [明] Dynasty. The various informations of the new world broadened writer`s mental horizon and thinking space in most all of the literature genres. The 100 chapter [回]`s Sanbao-taijian Xiyangji Tongsuyanyi [三寶太監西洋記通俗演義] by Luo Maodeng [羅懋 登](or represented by him) is a typical instance of that experiences. Although this first story of the sea adventure in Chinese Literature is not a realistic novel──almost can be a fantasy, it contains substantial meanings in the society and history of late Ming Dynasty. The rich imaginations about overseas countries in this novel, for instance, gave an impetus to the Chinese of late Ming Dynasty who were still not prepared to accept the objective knowledge of the whole world and were self-sufficient for the idealism of the suzerain vassal. In addition, the writer(s) of this novel would like to represent his (or their) displeasure and indignation about the present state of late Ming Dynasty by satire and deriding style. Nevertheless, the sentence quality and story structure of this novel could not fulfill most of high-class leaders` aesthetic requirements at that time, so much as Lu xun [魯迅] in modern China.
In point of fact, Xiyangji can be placed a transitional stage in writing style from generational episodes cumulation to individual story writing. So, it was natural that the writer(s) of this novel betray many clumsy workmanships when he (they) tried to make use of some old episodes and other short stories, or when he (they) tried to imitate some sentences of history books and prose texts, or when he (they) tried to joke, even when he (they) tried to show his (their) talent of story writing. As things turned out, Xiyangji has many distinguished marks of experimental writing.
In this paper, I studied some types of quoting poetry and prose from outside of this novel. And I found some notable features.
Only 86 pieces of poems and phrases are directly quoted without any modification in total 178 cases. With a few exceptions that resulted from the mistakes in copy, most of all the quoted poetry and prose are intentionally modified by writer(s) of Xiyangji, for the purpose of application to his (their) novel`s context. But it is true that not a few confusions induced by these modifications. Without a few very high-class readers, almost all popular readers could not distinguish the modified poem from its original one, especially in the case that the extent of modification is rather high.
The prose sentences quoted in this novel were usually from the prose collections by the fairly famous literary men before the writer(s) or contemporary with him (them), history books, and the Confucian scriptures. But almost of all sentences were diversely modified also. In this case, the purpose of modification is far from the case of poetry. Apart from a few modification in consideration of the context, many modifications seems to cross the line. Intentionally or unconsciously the writer(s) reversed the arrangement of words or omitted some words. It make readers cannot grasp the meaning of the whole sentence.
In conclusion, the modification in quoting poetry and proses is a very remarkable feature in the Xiyangji text. But we cannot regard the poor workmanship of modification as an immature defect. Because not a few cases suggest that the poorness is made on purpose. In other words, we can think that the writer(s) of this novel intended to hold the so-called `high-class readers` up to ridicule or to satirize them by presenting sets of absurd prose sentences. And in any sense, we can regard this kind of writing as somewhat similar to the `pastiche` of the post-Modernism.