Presentation on theme: " 北方有佳人， 絕世而獨立。 一顧傾人城， 再顧傾人國。 寧不知， 傾城與傾國？ 佳人難再得！ In the North, there was a smashing beauty, Absolutely matchless and unsurpassable in human."— Presentation transcript:
北方有佳人， 絕世而獨立。 一顧傾人城， 再顧傾人國。 寧不知， 傾城與傾國？ 佳人難再得！ In the North, there was a smashing beauty, Absolutely matchless and unsurpassable in human realm. When casting a glance at you, she could bring down a city; When casting another glance at you, she could ruin a state. Notwithstanding one’s knowledge of her rare beauty, She is nowhere to find now.
The critical essay—the classical prose essay (gu wen 古文 )—was the most important Epitomizes Tang scholar’s achievement in prose writing Resulted from a “Return to Antiquity” (fu gu) movement which called for an “Ancient/Classical Style Prose” movement to reform the writing of prose. Intellectuals joining this movement are referred to as “restorationists” by Lewis, but would better be viewed as “classicists.” Han Yu was the leader of this movement Advocated that literature, in any forms but particularly in prose, should “convey the Dao/Way” and is for the sake of the Dao/Way—the Confucian Dao/Way.
They saw literature as a fundamental and guiding aspect of culture and literary men as ones who could help reorder Tang politics and society with their literary skills and classical knowledge. Literary writings should put a premium on moral seriousness as well as political and social obligations Literary men should present the situation of the people to the emperor, in memorials, political poetry, and folk songs They should use their persuasive powers to advise and guide the emperor in his decision-making
Han Yu’s notion of “scholar-officials” (shi, 士 ) Understand that self-cultivation is of fundamental importance because it prepares one to help create social order or restore social and political order to a society long acclimated to Buddhist and Daoist teachings. Understand that only a sage king, who adheres to the Confucian Way, can rule the state effectively Understand the historical trends that have led to the demise of Confucian teaching—the rise of Buddhism and Daoism Understand that the economic problems were caused by nonproductive, parasite-like population—the clergy
“In antiquity there were four classes of subjects; now there are six. In antiquity only one class were teachers; now there are three. For each farmer there are six people that consume his produce. For each craftsman, six use his products. For each merchant, there are six people who must live off his profits. Under such conditions, is it any wonder the people are impoverished and driven to brigandage?”
“In ancient times men confronted many dangers. But sages arose who taught them the way to live and to grow together. They served as rulers and as teachers. They drove out reptiles and wild beasts and had the people settle the central lands. [When] the people were cold, they clothed them; [when] the people were hungry, they fed them. Because the people dwelt in trees and fell to ground, dwelt in caves and became ill, the sages built houses for them….”
“But now Buddhist doctrines maintain that one must reject the relationship between ruler and minister, do away with father and son and forbid the Way that enables us to live and to grow together---all this in order to seek what they call purity and nirvana. It is fortunate for them that these doctrines emerged after the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties and so were not discredited by the ancient sages and by Confucius. It is equally unfortunate for us that they did not emerge before that time and so could have been corrected by the same sage.”
“The titles of emperor and of king are different, yet they are sages for the same reason…..What is the teaching of the former kings? To love largely is called a sense of humaneness (ren 仁 ); to act according to what should be done is called righteousness (yi 義 ); to proceed from these principles is called the moral Way (dao 道 ); to be sufficient unto oneself without relying on externals is called inner power (de 德 )…[These are] what I call the Way, not what the Daoists and Buddhists have called the Way”
“…what can be done about them [Buddhists and Daoists]? Block them or nothing will flow; stop them or nothing will move. Turn them into commoners, burn their books, turn their residences into huts. Illuminate the way of the Former Kings to guide them. Then those widowers, the widows, the orphans, the childless, the crippled, and the diseased will be cared for. This, indeed, seems possible.”
Empress Wu ’ s reign, Buddha flanked by two Bodhisattvas Bodhisattva Manjusri riding the lion, AD. 777, Daozong ’ s reign
Tang Fiction: Short Stories Tang short stories made important strides in the development of Chinese fiction Writers introduced the new form of story- telling called chuanqi, “ tales of the marvelous, ” or “ transmissions of the remarkable, ” written in literary style Sources of stories were drawn from the prosperous, brilliant, and volatile metropolitan life in Chang ’ an
Tang Art of Story Telling The crafted literary forms and conscious artistry in the creation of a literary text is expressed in at least four ways: Writers used a range of literary techniques to rework on previous stories orally told, making the stories anew and more interesting. Writers portrayed dreams and made them a central role in their narratives to reflect their insight into reality and their yearning for the fantastic.
Writers manipulated received narrative conventions to create new narratives; they skillfully expanded the elements of romantic liaisons between men and spirits, particularly humanized fox-spirits, blurring the boundary between human and animal worlds. They included other literary modes in their narratives: poems, letters, popular songs, anecdotes, historiographical techniques, and quotations from received works.
Types of Stories Three major types of stories: Love stories, fox romance (pseudo-historical) Knight errantry/Chivalry (often historical) Supernatural (purely fictional) Most easily identified features Use of incidental poems Capital city was the setting Didactic commentaries made in conclusion; Moral lessons taught in the form of satire Narrator also a witness to the narrated event More realistic human elements were used
Characteristics of the Stories Love stories, fox romance: Tended to portray unrequited love resulted from the heartless lover or the mischievous courtesan Knight errantry/Chivalry protagonists are often historical personages Stories are based on the mix of historical facts and unofficial histories
The Supernatural tell the love between a man and a woman who is the spirit of the animal, usually fox The animal, after attaining the Way and possessing supernatural power, is able to transform itself into human form, usually a woman On rare occasions, stories may have a happy ending and the superhuman is allowed to run its happy course
Realities Reflected in Tang Stories Some aspects of the stories reflect realities of Tang culture numerous activities of the Tang city dwellers, such as scholars, merchants, artisans, courtesans, vagabonds, beggars …. the structure and look of the Tang cities, towns, and villages The ethics, values, customs, … reflected the mix of Confucian, Buddhist, Daoist tenets. Romance and sex were normal human desires, eroticism and sensuality were not necessarily condemnable. They were allowed in private spaces.
Money represented power, status, and family order Men were weak, passive, without character, while women were active, decisive, and brave
Why Short Stories? Reasons for writing short stories? Writers ’ desire to Continue the story-telling tradition Refine previous zhiguai fiction Reflect their sensitivities to social changes that supplied new subject matters Show their skills and versatility in writing Satirize powerful and exploitative aristocrats Express sympathy and praise for righteous and brave women
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