The polysemous term of shen 神 in Wenxin diaolong

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Abstract

Here I propose to study how Liu Xie 劉勰 (ca. 465-ca.521) masterfully exploits the polysemy of shen in Wenxin diaolong 文心雕龍 (Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons). In this masterwork of criticism, he employs distinctive clusters of the term shen and shen-binomes in his discussions on the origins and nature of literature, the authorial qualities, the creative process, as well as on the religious poetry of remote antiquity. Focusing on clusters, I shall demonstrative how he ingeniously adapts different notions of shen developed by Confucian, Legalist, Daoist, and other philosophical schools to theorize about particular aspects of literature. By investigating the conceptual origins of shen, I aim to demonstrate the ramifying aesthetic significance of this all-important term in Wenxin diaolong and in Chinese literary thought at large.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecarving the dragon : understanding Chinese poetics
PublisherCharles University in Prague, Karolinum Press.
Pages85-116
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9788024606910
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

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CAI, Z. (2003). The polysemous term of shen 神 in Wenxin diaolong. In Recarving the dragon : understanding Chinese poetics (pp. 85-116). Charles University in Prague, Karolinum Press..