Traditional Chinese poetry and poetics demonstrate a strong belief in the idea of transparency: within the Chinese tradition poetry was often considered as a transparent medium which grants reader a seemingly unmediated access to the historical past and the poet's mind. In their discussion of this transparency, modern scholars tend to either dismiss it as a hermeneutic fallacy or accept it as historically true nature of traditional Chinese poetry. This study draws attention to the "thickness" of such transparency as reflected in the hermeneutics of China's greatest poet Du Fufs poetry during the late Ming and early Qing periods.
The dissertation consists of two parts: textual hermeneutics and life hermeneutics. Part I "textual hermeneutics" concentrates on the hermeneutic shift during the late Ming and early Qing. Such a shift is characterized by objection to previous Du Fu hermeneutics especially Song commentatorsf interpretations on Du Fu. Chapter 1 gives a general picture of this hermeneutic shift and discusses three major strategies adopted by Ming-Qing commentators. I also analyze the overarching principle embraced by many commentators during this tme: yi yi ni zhi. Chapter 2 offers a case study of Jin Shengtan's commentaries on Du Fu. Jin elevates jie from a general interpretive approach (as opposed to zhu) to a well-defined approach which presents an interesting picture of how he deals with the hermeneutic past as well as defining relationship between self as reader and Du Fu as author.
Part II "life hermeneutics" focuses on "life hermeneutics" and begins with an examination of life hermeneutics of Du Fu during the Song dynasty. Chapter 3 discusses Qian Qianyi's interpretation of Du Fufs poetry. Qian's changing relations with reading Du Fu at different stages of his life serve as a unique example for us to examine complexities of life hermeneutics during the late Ming and early Qing periods. Chapter 4 investigates Ming yimin's practice of life hermeneutics and their attitude towards loyalty as well as how the Qing official ideology intervenes in the interpretations of Du Fu during the Kangxi (1654-1722) and the Qianlong (1711-1799) period.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: Asian Literature, Culture & Media. Advisor: Paul Rouzer. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 269 pages.
Poetics of transparency: hermeneutics of Du Fu (712-770) during the Late Ming (1368-1644) and Early Qing (1644-1911) periods.
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