Multiple vistas of Ming and changing visions of life in the works of Tao Qian

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Abstract

Just as Duke Wen of Zhu did about eight hundred years before, so Tao Qian 陶潛 (ca. 365-427), one of the greatest Chinese poets, sought to con-template the meaning of his life through the multiple views of ming. Of course, Tao Qian pursued his self-reflection under entirely different circumstances. The duke was forced by the exigencies of socioplitical action to reflect on the meaning of his life on a public occasion. By contrast, Tao Qian habitually and privately reflected upon the meaning of his life amid the changing circumstances of his physical and spiritual existence. Indeed, the occasions for his self-reflection are all events or moments of his private life--the naming of his son, a journey to his official post, his farming routines, seasonal festivals, his begging for food, and so forth. On these occasions, he tended to look back on the decisions made at various points in his life--his temporary adventure into the political world, his decision to retire from public life, and his decision to become a hermit-farmer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe magnitude of Ming : command, allotment, and fate in Chinese culture
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
Pages169-202
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9780824827397
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

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CAI, Z. (2005). Multiple vistas of Ming and changing visions of life in the works of Tao Qian. In The magnitude of Ming : command, allotment, and fate in Chinese culture (pp. 169-202). University of Hawaii Press.