• Of Admonition and Address: Right-Hand Inscriptions (Zuoyouming) from Cui Yuan to Guanxiu

    Author(s):
    Thomas Mazanec (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    GS Poetry and Poetics, LLC East Asian, Poetics and Poetry
    Subject(s):
    Classical Chinese literature, Poetry, Lyric poetry
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Admonition, Lyric address
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/ct34-y410
    Abstract:
    This essay traces the development of the right-hand inscription (zuoyouming 座右銘) from its birth in the second century CE through its culmination as a complex literary subgenre in the tenth. Over the course of these eight centuries, right-hand inscriptions were used by some of the most prominent poets of their respective eras, including Cui Yuan 崔瑗 (77–142 CE), Bian Lan 卞蘭 (ca. 230), Zhi Dun 支遁 (314–366), Bai Juyi 白居易 (772–846), and Guanxiu 貫休 (832–913). These writers used the subgenre to advocate for many different kinds of wisdom, often reflecting intellectual trends of their times. The inscriptions underwent a process of literarization, meaning they became more deeply embedded in a self-consciously literary tradition. By the end of this process, with the poet-monk Guanxiu, the temporal spectrum of address (past-present-future) comes to dominate the others. Poetic address, in this subgenre of verse as in shi-poetry 詩, comes to focus more on the literary tradition itself than the poem’s immediate readership.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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