Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros
John T. P. Lai
Sinitic Poetry (Kanshi) from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries
Edited by Judith N. Rabinovitch and Timothy R. Bradstock
Edited by Gülru Necipoğlu and Maria J. Metzler
The Father of History in Pre-Modern China
Esther S. Klein
An Introduction to Chinese and Japanese Characters, Their History and Influence
Edited by Imre Galambos
Zhiyi Yang and Ma Dayong
In this paper, we examine the various approaches toward literary classicism among contemporary Chinese poets. If “poetry of the establishment” features ideological conservatism and aesthetic populism, then its opposite is the online scene of classicist poetry which represents an innovative continuation of the poetic tradition. Here such innovations are discussed in terms of theme, language, and form. Thematic innovations include further that of ideology, worldview, and urbanity. In particular, we argue that a major distinction between contemporary online classicist poets and their premodern predecessors is in their cultural identity. Unlike a traditional literatus who is a poet, scholar, and bureaucrat, contemporary poets often endure economic, intellectual, or political marginalization; or at the very least, writing in the marginalized genre of classicist poetry is a skill that can no longer be readily translated into career success. This new type of poetic identity, in addition to their modern education, has given rise to fresh interpretations of our living world unseen in premodern poetry. Despite their broad spectrum of intellectual persuasions and aesthetic preferences, most of the poets have demonstrated an audacity to experiment, which, coupled with full versatility and virtuosity in the classical poetry tradition, creates outstanding poems. The highly original works of a few leading classicist poets like Lizilizilizi (Zeng Shaoli), Xutang (Duan Xiaosong), and Dugu Shiroushou (Zeng Zheng) will be examined in depth.
A revival of ci writing was witnessed in the Qing dynasty. Emerging with this resurgence was the founding of scores of ci societies. After the fall of the Qing, some loyalists and traditional literati, following the examples of their predecessors, joined together to form a number of ci societies in Republican China. For loyalist-lyricists such as Zhu Zumou, ci writing was not just one of the effective ways to convey their memories of the past. It also meant to be a gesture of practicing and preserving traditional Chinese culture. However, due to ideological bias, their works and the vitality of cishe did not receive sufficient attention from literary historians in the past. This paper attempts to reveal and examine the interesting features of cishe in the Republican era, asserting that within the collective voice of and harmonious correspondence among the traditional lyricists, there were always some dissonances occurred. First I delineate a general picture of ci societies in Republican China, explicating the geographical distribution and social networks of ci lyricists and why lyricists from the Qing loyalist faction can associate with members of the anti-Manchu Southern Society (Nanshe), and what this phenomenon means to us. Then I focus on the Foam Society (Oushe), the ci society formed in Shanghai before the Japanese occupation of the city, and its group ci composition. Besides recounting Oushe members’ backgrounds and the details of their “refined gatherings,” I will bring into light the multifaceted thematic and stylistic features displayed in the members’ works.
Nie Gannu 聶紺弩 (1903–86), essayist and poet, had begun his literary career as an avid advocate of the New Culture and New Literature Movement of the early twentieth century; but later in life, he became well-known for his classical-style poetry. This paper examines the paradox of old and new in Nie Gannu’s writings by juxtaposing classical-style with new-style poetry for a comparative analysis. In contrast to new-style poetry, classical-style poetry with its prosodic requirements and formal conventions has a strong technical aspect. Nie Gannu’s preference for the regulated verse in the seven-syllable line is a deliberate embrace of this technical aspect of classical-style poetry: On the one hand, the absorption in poetic skills and craftsmanship was therapeutic for him in the traumatic years of the socialist revolution; on the other, the restraint of the form and the use of parallel couplet afforded him linguistic resources unavailable in the new-style poetry, so that he was able to express emotional complexity, ambivalence, and an irony that is, in his own words, “both there and not quite there.” Nie Gannu’s case demonstrates the importance of understanding the new and old verse forms in each other’s context. Rather than considering the mapping of modern Chinese poetry as following a linear line of progression from classical-style to new-style, this paper proposes a spatial model of configuring the relationship of the two major verse forms in modern times, as mutually defining and constricting.