This essay examines Vietnamese tales of marvels [kỳ] and the uncanny [quái] composed in Literary Sinitic and offers close readings of four narratives through focusing on the theme of predestined love [duyên]. The essay shows that the discourse of duyên was embedded in both Confucian and Daoist voices and that this reflected a common cultural repertoire in which the discourse of social karma was a part of a shared moral metaphysics. The essay offers a theory and methodology for examining tales of marvels and the uncanny, arguing that heretofore scholars have read around the depictions of religious phenomena, rather than by means of them.

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