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Title:Remaking early poetic tradition: publication and reception of ancient-style poetry anthologies in late imperial China
Author(s):Chen, Jing
Director of Research:Cai, Zong-qi
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shih, Chilin
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Chow, Kai-Wing; Shao, Dan; Burkus-Chasson, Anne; Persiani, Gian-Piero
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
late imperial China
ancient-style poetry
poetic tradition
Abstract:Situated at the intersections of literary studies, book history, and print culture, this dissertation studies how literary anthologies were shaped by and shaped literary tradition in late imperial China from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. Specifically, by combining approaches from the fields of literary studies, book history, and digital humanities, this dissertation focuses on the practices of compiling, publishing, and reading ancient-style poetry (Ch. gushi or guti shi) anthologies. Through examining poetry anthologies from both macroscopic and microscopic perspectives, this dissertation argues that the late imperial practices of compiling, publishing, and reading a large amount of ancient-style poetry anthologies have transmitted, transformed, canonized, and popularized the ancient poetic tradition in Ming-Qing China. This process is marked by (1) the reinvention of the pre-Tang tradition, (2) the expansion of the readership of pre-Tang poetry, (3) the transformation of the general perception of the term gushi, and (4) the emergence of new methods of interpreting and reading gushi. Ultimately, by the 1700s, these practices have resulted in a significant remaking of the ancient and early poetic tradition. The main body of this dissertation contains five chapters. The introductory chapter introduces the topic, materials, and methodology. Chapter 1 argues that late imperial China witnessed the rise of “ancient-style poetry anthology,” a genre native to Ming-Qing society. It is a unique genre of books neutered within and by late imperial society. Chapter 2 delineates the formats and forms for this genre of books, identifying several new late imperial ways of compiling and reading these anthologies. Chapter 3 focuses on the production of pre-Tang poetry anthologies in the 1500s, examining the contributions of the sixteenth-century anthologizing practices to the reinvention of an all-inclusive pre-Tang poetic tradition. By the end of the 1500s, a gushi corpus became widely available. Chapter 4 argues that the practices of commercially printing and reprinting the gushi corpus in the early 1600s have served the needs of contemporary readers and attracted new readers. More importantly, these practices have also transformed the understanding of the literary term gushi. Chapter 5 focuses on commented anthologies produced by late Ming and early Qing literati after the 1620s, and demonstrates that the literary ways of interpreting gushi in commented anthologies were in line with the understanding of gushi in contemporary critical writings. Through several case studies, this chapter also proposes that late Ming and early Qing gushi anthologies have presented two approaches for interpreting gushi—a holistic approach and an analytical approach. The concluding chapter addresses the Qing-dynasty poetry learners’ experience of reading ancient-style poetry anthologies and displays the use of gushi anthologies as entry-level materials for poetry-learning in the 1800s, concluding that the late imperial publication and reception of ancient-style poetry anthologies have remade early poetic tradition.
Issue Date:2018-07-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Jing Chen
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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