Evolving practices of Guan and Liu Xie's theory of literary interpretation

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An in-depth exploration of early interpretive practices and views is particularly important to a study of the development of the guanwen 觀文 (observing belles lettres) tradition during the Six Dynasties. In theorizing about the newly established guanwen tradition, Liu Xie 劉勰 (ca. 465 – ca. 532) draws extensively from those interpretive practices and views and formulates a comprehensive theory of literary interpretation in “The One Who Knows the Tones” (“Zhiyin” 知音), the forty-eighth chapter of his magnum opus Wenxin diaolong 文心雕龍 (Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons). Liu Xie’s debt to those early interpretive practices and views is much greater than commonly acknowledged. By investigating this debt, I seek to demonstrate not only the genesis of Liu’s theory but also the interconnectedness of all the interpretive practices and views examined. This, I hope, will shed light on the evolution of interpretive traditions in ancient and early medieval China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterpretation and literature in early medieval China
PublisherThe State University of New York Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781438432182, 9781438432175
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


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