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In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
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Abstract

The publication of The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature in 2010 stands as a significant achievement in the field of Chinese literary studies within the global field of Sinology. This groundbreaking work challenged the prevailing narratives of Chinese literary history in two key areas: writing style and perspectives of literary history. By employing updated methodologies, the authors addressed the practical question of how to effectively rewrite Chinese literary history. Additionally, they relied on historiographic principles to reconsider the theoretical issues surrounding the nature of Chinese literary history and the reasons behind its rewriting. Through a comprehensive investigation, this literary history offers a theoretical response to the question of what Chinese literary history truly entails. It sheds light on two fundamental compilation principles: the history of history and the history of literary culture. These principles revolve around the three core elements of history, literature, and China itself. By examining the book’s interactions with the mainstream Western theoretical community, insight may be gained into the motivations behind the writing process and the paradigmatic shifts within contemporary overseas Chinese literary history.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

In the study of literary history, how can we transcend the traditional models found in existing works? How can we take literary history research in new directions? For scholars of literary history who aspire to break new ground in the field, these are questions that must be properly considered. Published outside of China, The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature offers us a paradigm for literary history writing. While some of its features might be debatable, it offers much inspiration and food for thought. In this case study, the author shares with our readers some of his insights and opinions regarding the study of literary history.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature is based on a “history of literary culture” approach that differs clearly from the standard literary-historical narrative favored by most Chinese scholars. The conventional approach to literary history tends to focus on the most engaging elements of a literary canon, while the history of literary culture model attempts to study literary texts in conjunction with their historical contexts. Based on historical documentation, this approach seeks to rehabilitate literary works that have been misinterpreted over time. With this approach, both texts and contexts are at the heart of literary history. If literary texts are restored to the context of their literary production, we are asked to reconsider the following three important research questions. Where did the texts originate? Why were they selected as part of the literary canon? What are their special characteristics and how are they related to other texts? Answers to these questions make literary research more varied and three-dimensional. In terms of theory, the contributors to The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature clearly aspire towards historicism. In their own writing, however, they seem willing to compromise and follow “a middle way” between conventional and alternative narratives of Chinese literary history.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

In many respects, The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature consciously avoids traditional approaches to the compilation of literary history in order to emphasize its unique understanding of Chinese literature. The innovative approaches described by the editors have yielded practical results, particularly in the attempt to “avoid the division of the field into genres and to move toward a more integrated historical approach.” They chose a new approach to historical periodization, and the book “pays greater attention to the ways in which all received Chinese literary texts are filtered and reconstructed by later generations.” However, there are still some shortcomings, such as the neglect of certain literary genres, the perfunctory choice of the dividing moment between the two volumes, and the subjective nature of the historical reconstruction. Furthermore, two fundamental problems characterize the book’s discussion of literary history: the limitations of the editors’ and authors’ specialized research experience, and the work’s use of recent academic research. The editors also fail to adequately respect academic norms. Therefore, The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature is an innovative and unique work of literary history that nonetheless contains major shortcomings, leaving much room for improvement.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
In: Contributions to Zagrology
In: Contributions to Zagrology
In: A Confucian Autobiography of Tasan Chŏng Yagyong
In: A Confucian Autobiography of Tasan Chŏng Yagyong