Dialectics of Spontaneity

The Aesthetics and Ethics of Su Shi (1037-1101) in Poetry


In Dialectics of Spontaneity, Zhiyi Yang examines Su Shi’s poetry on art and connoisseurship, his emulation of Tao Qian in exile poetry, and his inner alchemical practice. She argues that the concept of absolute spontaneity is defined negatively, and artistic and ethical spontaneity which can be actualized must be provisional and conditioned.

This book argues that Su Shi’s lyrical persona of a 'spontaneous genius' is a construction that serves various rhetorical and existential purposes. Making use of Su’s prolific works and referring to a broad scope of Western philosophy, this book not only enriches the literature on Su Shi, but further attempts to engages Chinese literature in a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary dialogue.
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Zhiyi Yang received her PhD from Princeton University in 2012. She is currently Junior Professor of Sinology at University of Frankfurt. This is her first monograph.
All interested in Chinese literature, aesthetics and ethics, in particular Su Shi, in the comparative discussion about spontaneity, and those concerned with the reception history of Tao Qian or with inner alchemy.
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