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Exemplary Figures / Fayan

by Yang Xiong

Publication Year: 2013

Exemplary Figures (sometimes translated as Model Sayings) is an unabridged, annotated translation of Fayan, one of three major works by the Chinese court poet-philosopher Yang Xiong (53 BCE-18 CE). Yang sought to "renew the old" by patterning these works on earlier classics, drawing inspiration from the Confucian Analects for Exemplary Figures. In this philosophical masterwork, constructed as a dialogue, Yang poses and then answers questions on philosophical, political, ethical, and literary matters. Michael Nylan's rendering of this text, which is laden with word play and is extraordinarily difficult to translate, is a joy to read-at turns wise, cautionary, and playful.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-10

My first thanks must go to David Knechtges, whose knowledge of the Fayan is unparalleled, and to Anne Cheng, who not only encouraged me in this project but also alerted me to the need to take Yang Xiong seriously as a historian. Nathan Sivin, Marc Kalinowski, and Béatrice L’Haridon have all provided insights ...

Chronology of Dynasties

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pp. x-11

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xlii

In an era before strict genre distinctions, Yang Xiong 揚雄 (53 BCE–18 CE) wrote a work to which he gave the title Fayan 法言. From the beginning, scholars have variously treated Yang’s text as a philosophical masterwork, a commentary on the Analects (Lunyu 論語) and Sima Qian’s 司 馬遷 (145?–86? BCE) Shiji 史記 (usually rendered as Records of the Historian), ...

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Chapter 1. Learning and Practicing

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pp. 2-21

When heaven first came down to give birth to the people,1 they were dense and dim-witted. As they gave free rein to their own instincts, their faculties of sight and hearing were quite undeveloped. In order to instruct them [the people] according to certain principles, I compiled chapter 1, “Learning and Practicing.”2 ...

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Chapter 2. Our Masters

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pp. 22-37

In the period from the Duke of Zhou to Kongzi, they perfected themselves with respect to the Kingly Way. Afterward the great precepts were subverted, and the various masters held subtle teachings in contempt. Thus, I have compiled chapter 2, “Our Masters.”1 ...

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Chapter 3. Cultivating One's Person

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pp. 38-51

Affairs have a basic truth in them, which unfolds in an infinite number of forms. If one’s deeds do not persuade others, one should seek the fundamental reason in one’s own person. Thus, I have compiled chapter 3, “Cultivating One’s Person.”1 ...

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Chapter 4. Asking about the Way

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pp. 52-67

Vast, vast is heaven’s Way. In times past, the sages perfected it. “Going beyond it” means losing the Mean, while “failing to reach it” spells a failure to attain it. It cannot be defiled or maligned. Thus, I have compiled chapter 4, “Asking about the Way.”1 ...

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Chapter 5. Asking about Divine Insight

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pp. 68-83

The heart so divine may seem as vague and unknowable as the gods, yet it is the alpha and omega when it comes to governing the myriad regions.1 Its workings are tied to the Way, to charismatic virtue, to humanity, to a sense of duty and propriety, and to ritual decorum. Thus, I have composed chapter 5, “Asking about Divine Insight.”2 ...

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Chapter 6. Asking about Illumination

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pp. 84-99

The man of illumined1 wisdom, resplendent and bright, shines everywhere like a torch,2 his influence without limits. Avoiding unforeseen dangers, he preserves the life that heaven conferred. Thus, I have composed chapter 6, “Asking about Illumination.” ...

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Chapter 7. Things Rarely Seen

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pp. 100-117

Far-ranging words from remote eras encompass heaven and earth, giving aid to divine insight. Profound and great, vast and broad, such words far surpass those of recent times and narrow scope.1 Thus, I have compiled chapter 7, “Rarely Seen.” ...

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Chapter 8. Every Five Hundred Years

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pp. 118-135

The sage, with senses keen and profoundly good, succeeds to heaven and fathoms the divine. Superior to the common herd, he it is who sets down all the norms. Thus, I have composed chapter 8, “Every Five Hundred Years.” ...

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Chapter 9. Foresight

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pp. 136-149

In establishing policies, rousing the masses, and influencing the empire, nothing is superior to putting the Mean at Center. To begin this requires knowledge of the people’s predilections. Thus, I have composed chapter 9, “Foresight.”1 ...

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Chapter 10. Chong and Li

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pp. 150-181

Since the time of Zhongni, rulers, generals, chancellors, ministers, men in service, and famous officers have been judged by disparate standards. I judge them by a single standard, that of the sages. Thus, I have composed chapter 10, “Chong and Li.” ...

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Chapter 11. Yan Hui and Min Ziqian

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pp. 182-205

From the time of Zhongni, on down to the Han way, there have been the exemplary men of virtuous conduct, the Yan Huis and Min Ziqians, and exemplary right-hand men, the Xiao Hes and Cao Shens,1 not to mention famous generals. Ranking their eminence, I weigh and relate their types and qualities. ...

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Chapter 12. The Noble Man

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pp. 206-221

The noble man who remains pure to the end earns a fine reputation. Malefactors wreaking havoc, they he constrains,1 at every point developing the models of the sages. Thus, I have compiled chapter 12, “The Noble Man.” ...

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Chapter 13. Honoring the Ancestors, the Ultimate Duty

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pp. 222-242

For filial duty, nothing is greater than comforting parents. For comforting parents, nothing is greater than comforting the spirits.1 And for comforting spirits, nothing is better than cheering the hearts of the whole realm. Thus, I have compiled chapter 13, “Honoring the Ancestors, the Ultimate Duty.”2 ...

Glossary of Names, Legendary and Historical

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pp. 243-290

Abbreviations

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pp. 291-292

Bibliography

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pp. 293-310

Index

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pp. 311-315


E-ISBN-13: 9780295804682
E-ISBN-10: 0295804688
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295992891
Print-ISBN-10: 0295992891

Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st edition.
Series Title: Classics of Chinese thought
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth