Chinese Theories of Reading and Writing: A Route to by Ming Dong Gu

By Ming Dong Gu

This formidable paintings offers a scientific learn of chinese language theories of interpreting and writing in highbrow notion and demanding perform. the writer keeps that there are significant hermeneutic traditions in chinese language literature: the politico-moralistic mainstream and the metaphysico-aesthetical undercurrent. In exploring the interplay among the 2, Ming Dong Gu unearths a circulation towards interpretive openness. during this, the chinese language perform anticipates smooth and Western theories of interpretation, particularly literary openness and open poetics. vintage chinese language works are tested, together with the Zhouyi (the I Ching or booklet of Changes), the Shijing (the booklet of Songs or ebook of Poetry), and chosen poetry, in addition to the philosophical history of the hermeneutic theories. eventually, Gu relates the chinese language practices of interpreting to Western hermeneutics, delivering a cross-cultural conceptual version for the comparative learn of examining and writing ordinarily.

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Extra info for Chinese Theories of Reading and Writing: A Route to Hermeneutics and Open Poetics

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Its outer space covers the wording (yan), literary embellishment (wen), and text (wenzhang). Language is the ultimate form of mediation that connects the inner and outer spaces. It imparts most perfectly and yet problematically the correspondence between the inner and outer spaces. Through language, one can perceive the totality of a writer by tracing from wen (literary embellishment) and yan (wording) to yi (thought), zhi (intention), and qi (personality). Mencius’ theory of reading is optimistically positive—reading can objectively reflect the original intention of the author and the conditions of his time—but it did not directly address the linguistic skepticism raised by Zhuangzi and the Xicizhuan.

In his discourse on literature, he stated in the preface: 40 Chinese Theories of Reading and Writing Whenever I read the writings by talented writers, I secretly nurse the idea that I have been able to grasp their intentions. Although they displayed colorful mutations in their verbal expressions, we can still grasp their descriptions of the beautiful, the ugly, the good and the bad, and talk about them. Each time I compose my own writing, I become more keenly aware of their state of mind. I constantly worry lest my ideas are inadequate for objects and my writing inadequate for my ideas.

This is the subtle brilliance of the Book of Changes and the Golden Mean. But why didn’t the sages dare to seek thoroughness in expression? 53 In his opinion, the sages adopted a heuristic method in teaching their ideas. They deliberately left some blank space in their teachings for people to generate doubts, to fill up the gaps, and to create new ideas out of existent ideas. ” Clearly, he was aware that writing could be suggestive on the part of the author and open to the reader’s understanding.

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