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© 1998 by University ofHawai'i Press Reviews 251 economic development. It would also serve well as a case study from which to generate discussion in graduate seminars. Eugene Cooper University ofSouthern California Eugene Cooper is an associateprofessor ofanthropology and EastAsian studies with recent research experience in the rural industrial sector ofZhejiangProvince. Cecile Chu-chin Sun. Pearlfrom the Dragon's Mouth: Evocation ofFeeling and Scene in Chinese Poetry. Michigan Monographs in Chinese Studies, vol. 67. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University ofMichigan, 1995. xvi, 248 pp. Hardcover, isbn 0-89264-110-x. Sooner or later, every student oftraditional Chinese poetry and poetics has to grapple with the special vocabulary that Chinese poets have used to critique, qualify, and just talk about their art. As scholars have pointed out, much ofthis critical terminology is itselfpoetic—notoriously allergic to paraphrase, and as redolent with meaning as the most evocative lines of a Tang quatrain. In many cases, terms are drawn from the pool ofthe most common words and then organized into pairs. By pairing these everyday words in sometimes unexpected combinations , writers defamiliarize them, drawing attention to their specialized significance in the context ofliterary discussion. FengM1 and gu UT—"wind" and "bone"—is a pair that comes readily to mind, as does the ever untranslatable bi XL· and xingjPI. But one pair ofterms stands out as being particularly resistant to this type ofdefamiliarization: qingIff andjingS, sometimes translated as "sentiment " and "milieu," sometimes as "feeling" and "scene." Contrary to what one might expect, the very familiarity ofthese two words constitutes a challenge to the scholar with hopes of understanding either the meaning ofthis dyad, or the history ofChinese poetics through the lens it provides. The difficulty is compounded by the widespread, if tacit, presence of qingandjingin almost all aspects of traditional Chinese poetic thought. Yet this is the challenge taken up, first by the Song dynasty literati who brought the qing-jingcompound into the arena ofliterary discourse, and then by the many traditional scholars ofclassical poetics who inherited the questions thereby raised. Most recently, in Pearlfrom the Dragon's Mouth: Evocation ofFeeling and Scene in Chinese Poetry, Professor Cecile Chu-chin Sun sets out to provide 252 China Review International: Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1998 a chronological overview ofboth the theory and praxis of qing-jing discourse. Her ambitious study begins witii the Han dynasty exegeses of the Shijing and closes with the theoretical discussions ofWang Fuzhi and Wang Guowei, the Qing dynasty literary thinkers most closely identified with the use of these terms. Sun's book is the first full-length treatment in English exclusively devoted to studying "how the critical perception of this essential phenomenon has evolved throughout the Chinese tradition" (p. xiii).' Wisely wary of suggesting that hers will be the definitive and complete work on a vast and complex topic, the author warns that she has limited the parameters ofher discussion to "the most crucial phases" ofits evolution. She lends further precision to her goals by proposing to the Western reader a window on "what Chinese poets and critics themselves have perceived poetry to be" (p. ix), as distinct from, one assumes, presenting either a personal or a comparative view of the tradition. Sun walks us through the history of the "feeling-scene" issue of Chinese poetics in four "phases," apparently borrowing the nomenclature for each phase from James J. Y. Liu's Chinese Theories ofLiterature, the pragmatic phase, the affective phase, the aesthetic phase, and, finally, the synthetic phase.2 Although the terms are modern and carry a certain New Critical air ofscientific methodology, the periodization they describe predates that approach by at least a couple of centuries . Specifically, Sun associates the pragmatic phase with the Han dynasty, a period when the Confucian view of poetry as a didactic tool was dominant. She labels the Six Dynasties period the affective phase, when the rising influence of Taoism contributed to a new critical sensibility, liberating poetry from its didactic role and conferring upon it the power of expressing human emotion, usually through the evocation of imagery drawn from the natural world. The Tang dynasty , then, corresponds to the culmination ofboth the awareness and the application of the interplay...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 251-256
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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