This paper was drafted by Achilles Fang (1910–1995) who was a senior lecturer of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations of Harvard University. The paper is kept in Harvard University Archives. According to Achilles Fang’s description in the first edition, “The first draft of this iconoclastic paper was drafted in the early 1960’s and, after lying in dust for more than a decade was edited by the late John Lyman Bishop for Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. I have, however, held it back all this while not out of timidity. But I have found it futile to complete the demolition of the rest of the 24 poems as thoroughly I made with half of them. But those who are unabashed in their schwarmerei for this patently forged document (forged was it in spite of endorsement meted out in the Ssu-k’u Catalogue (195) and silence of Yu Chia-hsi in his Ssu-k’u t’i-yao pien-cheng, and Chang Hsin-ch’eng in Wei-shu t’ung-k’ao, will understand why I broke down my long-lasting reticence about their sacred cow: I am paying a fitting tribute to the memory of the man whom I miss as Chuang Chou missed Hui Shih. Fitting it should be, for my demolition finds its justification in the cope-stone unearthed by Bishop about 1945 somewhere in China: I am grateful to him for presenting me with his copy of a rubbing of three (Nos. 1, 6, 7) of the Shih-p’in poems attributed to Ssu-k’ung T’u (837–908) supposedly in the holograph of Yen Chen-ch’ing (709–785).” In a word, Achilles Fang found that Erh-shih-ssu Shih-p’in was a forgery and Ssu-k’ung T’u was not the original author of it.
This paper is an attempt to investigate how Lu Ji and Liu Xie develop their theories of literary creation on the foundation of the early philosophical discourse on language and reality. The first part of the paper examines various key terms, concepts, and paradigms developed in the philosophical discourse. The second part pursues a close reading of Lu’s and Liu’s texts to demonstrate how ingeniously they adapt and integrate those terms, concepts, and paradigms to accomplish two important tasks: to establish a broad framework for conceptualizing literary creation and to differentiate the complex mental and linguistic endeavors at different stages of the creative process. The paper ends with some general reflections on the impact of the two essays on the subsequent development of Chinese literary and aesthetic thoughts.
Yu Xin (513–581) was famous for writing muzhiming epitaphs. Of his nineteen extant pieces written for the Xianbei nobles in the Northern courts, thirteen were for women. In this regard, Yu Xin surpassed his contemporary men of letters of the entire Southern and Northern dynasties (420–589), both by quantity and by quality. As the leading man of letters from the South, Yu Xin was retained by the Northern courts for cultural strengthening. His epitaphic writing obviously resulted from the court’s order for this purpose. His emphasis on women was however rooted in his personal experience as well as the intellectual trends and social customs of his time. Influenced by the Wei-Jin (220–420) self-awakening, women in the Southern and Northern dynasties enjoyed relatively more spiritual freedom and less social confinement than their Han predecessors. While this Wei-Jin legacy continued in the South more from the intellectual respect, in the North it found unison from tribal regimes’ inherited esteem for women. Yu Xin’s epitaphs for women clearly combined all these cultural and social influences. Using ornate parallel prose (pianwen) style, Yu Xin wove cultural traditions into Northern women’s daily lives, bestowing these women with collective cultural status as well as intimate personal profiles. The genre of epitaph, as a ritual language, also highly ritualized these women’s social status. Both effectively empowered women in the Northern court. Meanwhile, these works also reflected Yu Xin’s own vision of an ideal womanhood.
Zhan Kai’s 詹垲 (c. 1860–c. 1910) two novels about women’s liberation of 1907 (Zhongguo xin nühao 中国新女豪 and Nüzi quan 女子权) are compared with each other and with three slightly earlier novels that could have been influences: Nü yuhua 女狱花 of 1904, Nüwa shi 女娲石 of 1904, and Huang Xiuqiu 黄绣球 of 1905–7. An effort is made to show what he might have borrowed and what were the most original points in Zhan’s writing. One further issue is the reason he might have written two such similar novels. Finally his guidelines for readerly behavior are explored.
This essay studies a tanci work, A Histoire of Heroic Women and Men (1905), as a case which reflects the intersecting themes of crossdressing, gender representation and the literary form of tanci. Written tanci, appropriated and redeveloped by educated women to tell stories of female crossdressers, scholars, and military leaders, offers a meaningful intervention in the dominant social and cultural discourses of womanhood in late imperial China. In the fictional realm, women’s acts of crossdressing transcend the Confucian ideological prescriptions of feminine identity, displaying their heroic efforts to pursue autonomy in a patriarchal culture. This essay will analyze how these examples of crossdressing interact with and modify current critical accounts of gender and sexuality. A Histoire, in particular, holds a place of prominence in late imperial Chinese literature because of its revelation of the troubled relationship between gender construction, narrative agency, and women’s identity. The text manifestly destabilizes conventional attitudes toward gendered identity, yet simultaneously exposes the social and practical challenges of such temporary and often imagined transgressions, which are exercised by incarcerating the feminine and borrowing the male subjective position through transvestite performance.
This paper is divided into two parts. Part I gives a brief survey of English translations of modern Chinese poetry in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The select translations—their foci and chronology—not only delineate a historic trajectory but also suggest broader geopolitical and sociocultural implications. Part II proposes that we understand “translatability” as “elective affinity.” Borrowed from German letters and science, “elective affinity” is an essential component of translation across cultures, and it is illustrated with two sets of examples: the encounters between classical Chinese poetry and modern American poets, and those between modern Chinese poetry and Anglo-American translators.
This article revisits the history of canon formation in modern Chinese literary study and explores the complexities and quandaries of literary historiography as evidenced in the case of Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing 张爱玲). Chang’s change of fortune from counter-canon to hypercanon addresses not simply the aesthetic imperatives of textual production and critical evaluation, but also the contingencies and vicissitudes of literary criticism and the periodic self-refashioning of critical concepts and values. Simultaneously operating as text and myth, the spectacular “Eileen Chang phenomenon” compels us to confront the intertwined issues of canon, discipline, and pedagogy.
In the field of life writing, a collective biography is a biography of a group of lives that share common background characteristics. Han Shaogong’s A Dictionary of Maqiao (1996) collects life stories, in a lexical list of entries, of 22 principal characters from the fictitious village of Maqiao. If there is a common background characteristic of Maqiao’s people, it is their special way of using words to shape their way of thinking. The 115 word entries that Maqiao people use reveal life stories covering more than a century. As a first person narrator and a biographer of collective lives, Han also seems to be a witness to their lives. How does he fuse autobiographical, biographical and historical truths into this text? How does he interpret Maqiao’s lexicon in the light of their collective lives? Are auto/biographical theories applicable to Han’s collective biography? Finally, what contributions does he make to collective life writing? To answer the above questions, this paper takes A Dictionary of Maqiao as a metafiction to discuss life writing issues with theorists such as Paul John Eakin, Philippe Lejeune, and Zhao Baisheng. It also searches for Han’s methodologies and techniques in creating collective life stories through a textual analysis. By reading literary biographies of Han Shaogong and his stories of Maqiao people, this paper also analyzes what constitutes “truths” and “facts” in this collective biography. Finally, it demonstrates how Han makes biography new in terms of life writing.