Three Kingdoms and Chinese Culture
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: State University of New York Press
Foreword: The Language of Values in the Ming Novel Three Kingdoms
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Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi) can be read as a study of values in conflict, such as righteousness (yi) against loyalty (zhong), and filial piety (xiao) against brotherhood (xiongdi). In a time of peace and stability, these ideals should coexist and enhance one another; in a time of crisis they may become incompatible. The word yi, a key term in the novel, can be rendered widely in...
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The essays collected in this volume are the output of the conference âThe Historical, Fictional, Theatrical, and Artistic Three Kingdoms: A Sino-American Colloquium.â Held in Chengdu and Nanchong (both in Sichuan Province, PRC) from May 28 to June 1, 2001, the colloquium was followed by a three-day excursion to Langzhong, a beautiful city over which Zhang Fei once presided as magistrate, and where...
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The title of the colloquium for which the essays in this volume were first produced was âThe Historical, Fictional, Theatrical, and Artistic Three Kingdoms: A Sino- American Colloquium.â The Chinese equivalent for this title was simply âThree Kingdoms Cultureâ (Sanguo wenhua), a phrase that encompasses a wide range of meanings requiring more elucidation for a Western audience. The...
I. Three Kingdoms and Chinese Values
1. Cosmic Foreordination and Human Commitment: The Tragic Volition in Three Kingdoms
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Three Kingdoms is a great tragedy that depicts the heroâs fabulous defiance of cosmic foreordination. Linkages between the human world, cosmic design and the cyclical movement of the Five Agents (wuxing)âwood, fire, earth, metal, and waterâplay a decisive role in the heroâs life in Three Kingdoms. The cyclical movement of the Five Agents manifests itself in history and in dynastic successions. A manâs...
2. Essential Regrets: The Structure of Tragic Consciousness in Three Kingdoms
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Before mentioning the historical truth of â[T]he empire long divided, must unite, long united, must divideâ that predicts the momentum of Chinese history, Three Kingdoms commences with sighs of regret. The opening poem, âWest River Moon,â imbues the tone of the novel with a consistent motif of vainglory, transient life, and fleeting time. Using the metaphor of the...
3. The Notion of Appropriateness (Yi) in Three Kingdoms
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Appropriateness (yi, also translated as ârighteousness,â âduty,â or âmoralityâ) means âwhat is suitable,â or âwhat is appropriate.â It is one of the major values that Three Kingdoms seeks to embody. âForming appropriateness in the Peach Gardenâ (Taoyuan jieyi, also known as the âPeach Garden Pledgeâ) is one of the best-known stories in Chinese literature. Appropriateness is also a central...
II. Three Kingdoms and Chinese History
4. The Beginning of the End: The Fall of the Han and the Opening of Three Kingdoms
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Well before the formal beginning of the Three Kingdoms era upon the close of the Latter or Eastern Han in 220, the three kingdoms were already taking shape in the persons of Cao Cao, Sun Quan, and Liu Bei. The tripartite fragmentation of the Han itself was the formation of an uneasy balance of power, a settling of a more chaotic condition resulting from the loss of imperial authority and...
5. Selected Historical Sources for Three Kingdoms: Reflections from Sima Guangâs and Chen Liangâs Reconstructions of Kongmingâs Story
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Attention is often drawn to performance literature (like dramas and plays and storytelling) as the principal sources for Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi); without minimizing the relevance of those sources, I would like to highlight two historiansâ contributions to reconstructed images of heroes from the Three Kingdoms era in the third century. The particular hero chosen for this case study...
III. Three Kingdoms in Chinese Drama and Art
6. Zhuge Liang and Zhang Fei: Bowang shao tun and Competing Masculine Ideals within the Development of theThree Kingdoms Story Cycle
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As sweeping in scope as the classic novel Three Kingdoms is, it actually represents only a select portion of the Three Kingdoms story cycleâthat is, the complex of literary and popular traditions that accreted around historical figures and incidents from the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220â265). By the time the novel made its appearance, the Three Kingdoms story cycle comprised materials from...
7. The Theme of Three Kingdoms in Chinese Popular Woodblock Prints
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Chen Shouâs (233â297) Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi), the third-century record of events involving the political and military conflicts between the rival kingdoms of Wu, Shu, and Wei from AD 168 to 265, has maintained a strong and enduring presence in Chinese culture, inspiring one of Chinaâs most influential novels, the fourteenth-century Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi yanyi) by Luo...
8. Three Kingdoms at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century The Shanghai Jingju Companyâs Cao Cao and Yang Xiu
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Theatrical versions of Three Kingdoms events are among the most vivid and pervasive in popular Chinese culture. Arguably, even today Three Kingdoms characters are âperhaps better known through stage-performances than by actual reading.âÂ¹ The Shanghai Jingju Companyâs Cao Cao and Yang Xiu, originally mounted in 1988 and significantly revised and restaged in 1995, is one of the most recent...
IV. Three Kingdoms in Contemporary East Asia
9. From Three Kingdoms the Novel to Three Kingdoms the Television Series: Gains, Losses, and Implications
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Over the last several decades, the revolutionary advancement of communication technology has not only promoted the formation and dissemination of popular culture, but has also made traditional and high cultures more dependent on these effective new communication technologies for diffusion, inheritance, and even survival. In such a process, traditional and high cultures enter various levels...
10. The Reception and the Place of Three Kingdoms in South Korea
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The most valuable aspect of reception studies is that it recognizes the centrality of the reader; the reader is not a passive participant but is as active as the author in maintaining identity and differences within the very space of reading. However minor the transformations wrought by the reader, the reader exercises his or her own will to power, even if not always to subvert otherwise radical...
11. Studies of Three Kingdoms in the New Century
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From the 1980s on, research on Three Kingdoms has made considerable progress. In fact, âThree Kingdoms studiesâ has become one of the most outstanding subfields within scholarship on the Chinese classical novel. In the short space of twenty years (1980â2000), the Chinese mainland has published approximately one hundred books and monographs on Three Kingdoms research...
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Page Count: 219
Illustrations: 10 figures
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Series Editor Byline: Roger T. Ames