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The Southern Garden Poetry Society

Literary Culture and Social Memory in Guangdong

By David B. Honey

Publication Year: 2013

What has traditionally been the main matter explored by Cantonese literati? From the earliest poets—oceanic elements and riparian scenes contrasted with stunning rock formations; a love for the exotic, especially local plants, products, and lore; Daoist transcendentalism; and, finally, a concern for pointing up local loyalty to the distant throne and a fierce pride in being culturally authentically Chinese. The Southern Garden Poetry Society in Guangzhou was the only major literary club in Chinese history to be periodically reconvened over the Ming, Qing, and Republican eras. Beginning with an examination of its five founding members during the Yuan / Ming transition period, in particular Sun Fen (1335–1393), David Honey traces the various elements of this Southern Muse that became embodied in later Cantonese poetry, and pursues the issue of social memory by focusing on later reconvenings of the society.

Published by: Chinese University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The following institutions at Brigham Young University were warmly supportive of this work in the form of travel grants, research supplies, and salaries for research assistants: the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, the College of Humanities, and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. ...

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pp. ix-xiv

Shakespeare’s Ferdinand lamented that all his linguistic learning went to waste on the isle on which he was shipwrecked: “My language? Heavens...I am the best of them that speaks this speech, Were I but where ’tis spoken” (The Tempest, act 1, scene 2). ...


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pp. xv-xx

Part 1. Literary Culture in Guangdong

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1. The Southern Muse

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pp. 3-42

Six poets from Guangzhou are enshrined in the historical records as having notable reputations during the Han and Six Dynasties periods. Our chief guide in these matters is that master of Cantonese culture and clime, the early Qing poet Qu Dajun (1630–1696) from Panyu.1 ...

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2. Chinese Poetry Societies and the Southern Garden

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pp. 43-68

Literary clubs have a long tradition in the West. The Greek symposium, literally “drinking together,” seems to be the earliest antecedent. According to Timothy Raylor, it was characterized by “the competitive composition of verses on set themes or the parodying of serious activities.”2 ...

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3. Sun Fen and Socializing in the Southern Garden

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pp. 69-80

Gardens were popular spots to convene literati gatherings for both the mainstream tradition as well as for the five early Ming poetry schools.1 For instance, Yu Jing celebrated a “Western Garden” in Shaozhou;2 Gao Qi and his coterie frequented the numerous gardens that made Suzhou famous, ...

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4. Li De and Individual Introspection in the Southern Garden

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pp. 81-92

In the extant poetry of the quintet from Guangzhou, only Li De joined with Sun Fen in composing verses dedicated to the theme of the Southern Garden, although the garden does get mentioned in passing in the verse of Huang Zhe and Zhao Jie.1 But Li De’s treatment is much different from the overall thrust of Sun’s poems, ...

Part 2. The Transmission of Social Memory

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5. Southern Garden, Mid-Ming to Early Qing

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pp. 95-118

Sun Fen and his coterie came to be called the “Five Former” masters of the Southern Garden; this distinguished them from a new quintet when the latter achieved local literary fame during the mid-Ming period. Headed by Ou Daren (zi Zhenpo, 1516–1595), the other four members of this new grouping ...

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6. The Southern Garden During the Late Qing

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pp. 119-142

The memory of the Southern Garden Poetry Society persisted throughout the Qing dynasty, inspiring an occasional poem from local literati. This memory lingered despite the conflagration of the original buildings on the site during the difficult transition from the Ming to the Qing and the subsequent desolation of the spot. ...

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7. The Southern Garden, Republican Period

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pp. 143-164

One occasional member of the Southern Garden coterie of Liang Dingfen was Qiu Fengjia (1864–1912), the Hakka refugee patriot, educator, and reformer from Taiwan. He is included in this chapter to serve as a transitional figure between the late Qing and early Republican times. ...


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pp. 165-224


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pp. 225-226


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pp. 227-240


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pp. 241-258

E-ISBN-13: 9789629969172
Print-ISBN-13: 9789629964672

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: Y
Publication Year: 2013