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December 08, 2008

David R. Knechtges

The Problem with Anthologies: The Case of the Poems of Ying Qu (190-252)

Tuesday, February 3
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

David R. Knechtges
Professor of Literature, University of Washington

The shi poems in the Wen xuan are classified into twenty-three categories. There is one troublesome category designated “Bai yi? 百一, which literally means “one hundred one? or “one of a hundred.? The “Bai yi? category in the Wen xuan contains only one poem by a single poet, Ying Qu 應璩 (190–252). Li Shan ?善 (d. 689) in his commentary to the Wen xuan records four explanations of title “Bai yi? all of which state that Ying Qu’s poems contained veiled criticisms of contemporary affairs. In this paper, I examine the extant fragments of Ying Qu’s poems. I also consider the question of why some sources designate his poems not as “Bai yi,? but xin shi 新詩 or “new poems.? I adduce evidence to show that Ying Qu was considered throughout the Wei, Jin, Nanbeichao period the premier author of poems critical of contemporary affairs, and his poems were called “new? because he was the first poet to use the pentasyllabic form to write a series of critical poems. I also reconsider Ying Qu’s “Bai yi? poem included in the Wen xuan and argue that it may actually contain an implicit criticism of the court.

David R. Knechtges is Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Washington. He also has taught at Yale, Wisconsin, and Harvard. He is the author of over 100 articles and nine books including Two Studies of the Han Fu (1968), The Han Rhapsody: A Study of the Fu of Yang Hsiung (53 B.C. –A.D.18) (1976), The Han shu Biography of Yang Xiong (1982), Wen-xuan or Selections of Refined Literature. Volume One. Rhapsodies on Metropolises and Capitals 1982), Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature. Volume Two. Rhapsodies on Sacrifices, Hunts, Travel, Palaces and Halls, Rivers and Seas (1987), Wen xuan, Volume Three, Rhapsodies on Natural Phenomena, Birds and Animals, Aspirations and Feelings, Sorrowful Laments, Literature, Music and Passions(1996), Editor and co-translator, Gong Kechang. Studies of the Han Fu (1997), Court Culture and Literature in Early China (2002), Co-editor, with Paul Kroll. Studies in Early Medieval Chinese Literature and Cultural History (2003), Co-editor, with Eugene Vance, Rhetoric and the Discourses of Power in Court Culture, East and West, 2005. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Posted by batesbe at December 8, 2008 10:49 AM