The metaphysical lyric of the six dynasties

Nicholas M WILLIAMS*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the third and fourth centuries there flourished in China a literary tradition that integrated abstruse philosophizing into pentasyllabic verse: xuanyan shi or the "metaphysical lyric." Xuanyan verse was mostly ignored in the great wave of literary critique and classification during the succeeding centuries, and much has been lost, but by using a variety of sources, ranging from the Shishuo xinyu to later imitations, we can ascertain its features and assess its later impact. Xuanyan verse played a key role in the development of early medieval poetry, providing a philosophical foundation to undergird poetic genres from which it at first appears quite alien. This article first describes the ideological and cultural context of xuanyan poetry, then surveys its major exemplars, and finally demonstrates its enduring influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-112
Number of pages48
JournalT'oung Pao
Volume98
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • History and Philosophy of Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • LYRIC POETRY
  • PHILOSOPHICAL POETRY
  • SHI
  • SIX DYNASTIES
  • XUANYAN

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