The Han Dynasty [206 BCE–220] was undeniably a crucial time period in the development of the cultural thought and governance structures of the Chinese people. The study of the Chinese Classics [jingxue
While the Classical Studies movement embodies the major school of thought of the Han era, Han fu serves as this period’s main literary corpus. Within the first twenty years of the twenty first century, the academic community has gathered the research and experience of the previous century’s exploration of Han fu poetry. In the resulting discussion of Han fu’s place in the literary world, a platform for the critical analysis of the unique ideological and artistic aspects of Han fu was finally established. The efforts of these recent scholars have created even wider avenues for further research and deeper exploration. In seeking to establish a paradigm of scholarly inquiry, often the best method is not gazing towards the future but rather in reflectively returning to the essential principles in question. Regarding the study of Han fu poetry, in recent years scholarly inquiry has dynamically proceeded down a path of vivacious new discovery. Today, we will read a collection of essays which incorporate such robust research methods embodying this spirit of reflection and retrospection.
We begin with a reflection on the genre of Han fu poetry as a whole. The essay “The Origin and Formal Characteristics of Fu Prefaces” by Ma Lili
Next, we examine the historical context in which Han fu poetry emerged. Whether belonging to the “sympathizing with the Qin” [ai Qin
Then we turn to the scholarly environment in which Han fu poetry was created. The Han Dynasty’s most prolific school of learning was the Classical Studies movement. This school was inextricably related to the political ideology, cultural thought, and even pseudo-Confucian divination [chenwei sichao
As an examination of precisely this point, Wang Sihao’s
With their critical attention to detail in seeking to more thoroughly understand Han fu poetry as a whole, the contributions of these scholars are pushing the field forward.
Translated by Jon Formella