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Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind

  • Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind
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Library of Chinese Classics: Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind
Written by Liu Xie (the Southern Dynasties)
Translated into English by Yang Guobin
Translated into modern Chinese by Zhou Zhenfu
Publisher: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press
Publication Date: 2003-12
Language: Chinese and English
ISBN: 7560029965
Library Binding: hardcover, 2 volumes, 799 pages

Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind written by Liu Xie (c. 465-521) marks the culmination of early Chinese literary criticism and literary theory. It represents a systematic explication on a host of important issues ranging from the origins of literature to literary genres, imagination, style, rhetoric, literary appreciation, writers' moral integrity, and the relationship between literature and social change. It is the first literary critical work of early Chinese literature history. It is also a classic text of Chinese culture. Liu Xie's outlook of literature is predicated on Confucianism, with elements of Daoism and Buddhism incorporated as well and his viewpoints are couched in language at once compelling and poetic. According to Liu Xie, literary creation has to be an organic whole under the control of mind, thought and imagination, or with his own words, "the literary mind is that mind which strives after literary forms... Since from time immemorial literary writings have always adopted an ornate style, and yet I am not implicating myself in the type of dragon carving style". Accordingly, the first part of his book consists of descriptions and critics of 34 different literary styles: Sao (elegic poetry of the South), Shi (lyric poetry), Yuefu (songs of the Han Music Bureau), Fu (rhapsody), Song (odes), Zan (pronouncements), Zhu (sacrificial praying), Meng (oaths of agreement), Ming (inscriptions), Zhen (exhortations), lei (elegies), Bei (epitaphs), Ai (laments), Diao (condolences), Zawen (miscellaneous writings), Xie (humorous writings), Yin (enigmas), Shizhuan (historical writings), Zhuzi (speculative writings of the Masters), Lun (treatises), Shuo (discussions), Zhao (edicts), Ce (scripts), Xi (war proclamations), Yi (dispatches), Fengshan (sacrifices to Heaven and Earth), Zhang (memoranda), Biao (memorials), Zou (presentations), Qi (opening communications), Yi (discussions), Dui (responses), Shu (letters) and Ji (notes). His brilliant and incisive comments on individual writers and their works, unprecedented in the history of Chinese literary criticism, exert a far-reaching influence on later generations,

In the second half of The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, Liu Xie developed his own proposals for a good writing composition, expounding flexibility, choice of style, emotion and expression, musicalness, parallelism, metaphor and allegory, hyperbole, choice of words, literary flaws, organization, and so on.

The English translation is based on Zhou Zhenfu's modern Chinese translation of the original work. The translator has also conducted an extensive study of recent annotated editions and other modern Chinese translations. The present translation aims at faithfulness, clarity and naturalness.

Table of Contents

Volume I

Chapter 1 Tracing the Origin to the Dao
Chapter 2 Venerating the Sages
Chapter 3 Modeling on the Classics
Chapter 4 A Proper Understanding of Apocrypha
Chapter 5 Evaluating the Sao, or the Songs of the South
Chapter 6 Illuminating Poetry
Chapter 7 Yuefu, or Poems of the "Music Bureau"
Chapter 8 Interpreting Fu, or Rhyme-prose
Chapter 9 Hymn and Eulogy
Chapter 10 Prayer and Oath
Chapter 11 Inscription and Admonition
Chapter 12 Mourning-Song and Epitaph
Chapter 13 Lament and Condolence
Chapter 14 Miscellaneous Writings
Chapter 15 Jesting Rhymes and Puzzles
Chapter 16 Historical Writings
Chapter 17 Philosophical Writings
Chapter 18 The Treatise and the Speech
Chapter 19 The Edict and the Decree of Enfeoffment
Chapter 20 The War Proclamation and the Dispatch
Chapter 21 The Sacrificial Address to Heaven and Earth
Chapter 22 Laudatory Address and Statement on Government Affairs
Chapter 23 Report and Memorandum
Chapter 24 The Discussion and the Examination Essay
Chapter 25 Epistolary Writing and Miscellaneous Records

Volume II

Chapter 26 Shensi, or Imagination
Chapter 27 Style and Natural Endowments
Chapter 28 "Wind" and "Bone"
Chapter 29 Continuity and Change
Chapter 30 Choosing the Style, or Natural Tendency
Chapter 31 Feeling and Art
Chapter 32 Casting and Cutting
Chapter 33 Prosody
Chapter 34 Paragraph and Sentence
Chapter 35 Parallelism
Chapter 36 Comparison and Metaphor
Chapter 37 Hyperbole
Chapter 38 Allusions
Chapter 39 Choosing the Right Word
Chapter 40 Concealed and Evident Excellence
Chapter 41 Flaws in Writing
Chapter 42 Nourishing qi, or Vital Energy
Chapter 43 Organization
Chapter 44 Summarizing the Art of Writing
Chapter 45 Literature and the Times
Chapter 46 The Forms of the Natural World
Chapter 47 Literary Talents
Chapter 48 An Appreciative Critic
Chapter 49 Moral Integrity
Chapter 50 My Intentions, or Postscript
Appendix I A Brief Chronology of Chinese History
Appendix II Glossary of Personal Names
About the Translator

作者:[南朝] 刘勰(著)杨国斌(英译)周振甫(今译)







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