Liu Tsung-yuan and Intellectual Change in T'ang China, 773-819

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This book is the first comprehensive study in a Western language of Liu Tsang-yuan (773-819), a major literary and intellectual figure in Chinese history. The major aspects of Liu's life and work are explored: the social and cultural background of his family, his relationship with the ku-wen prose reforms and new canonical scholarship in the mid-T'ang, his social and political criticism, his views on Confucian doctrine, and his sentiments and reflections regarding the private realm of human life. The scope of this survey goes beyond the "life and thought" of this principal intellectual figure in its special emphasis on the connections between Liu's thought and mid-T'ang intellectual change. This study offers a new interpretation of the origins of the T'ang-Sung intellectual tradition. Through a comparison of Liu's ideas to those of other major Confucian thinkers, Jo-shui Chen modifies the conventional view that the mid-T'ang Confucian revival led by Han Yu (768-824) and Liu Tsung-yuan was a precursor of Sung Neo-Confucianism. He suggests that the mid-T'ang Confucian movement was essentially a revival of an old form of Confucianism and that Liu's was a powerful voice expressing this sentiment. But some new elements, particularly certain ideas held by Han Yu and his followers, emerged in this revival, finally paving the way for the burgeoning of Neo-Confucian metaphysical and moral philosophy. Although this book deals specifically with Liu Tsang-yuan, the in-depth study it offers also encompasses a general interpretation of the nature of the T'ang-Sung intellectual transition. Anyone familiar with the intriguing yet elusive Liu Tsang-yuan will find this book fascinating.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Chen's copious documentation is impressive on the whole... ...Chen's book is a strong and solid contribution to T'ang intellectual history, going beyond two previous studies in western languages..." Canadian Journal of History

"It is competent, creative, and ambitious in concept....Scholars of the T'ang will be grateful for this work and will learn much from it." R. W. L. Guisso, Pacific Affairs

"...a thorough and scholarly study and a valuable addition to the small body of material that is available on the subject in English." Edwin G. Pulleyblank, China Review International

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Literati and thought in the early and middle T'ang 7
2 Liu Tsung-yuan and the circumstances of Ch'ang-an 32
3 805: The abortive reform 66
4 Declaration of principles: Tao and antiquity 81
5 Heaven, the supernatural, and Tao 99
6 Literary theory, canonical studies, and beyond 127
7 Sources of Liu's Confucian thought 149
8 The private sphere 163
Conclusion 188
Glossary 194
Bibliography 199
Index 217
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