The Problem of Beauty: Aesthetic Thought and Pursuits in Northern Song Dynasty China

The Problem of Beauty: Aesthetic Thought and Pursuits in Northern Song Dynasty China

by Ronald C. Egan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674022645

ISBN-13: 9780674022645

Pub. Date: 09/28/2006

Publisher: Harvard University Press

During the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126), new ground was broken in aesthetic thought, particularly in the fields of art collecting, poetry criticism, connoisseurship of flowers, and the song lyric. Collectively these activities constitute much of what was distinctive about Northern Song culture. Yet the subjects treated here were unprecedented when they appeared

Overview

During the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126), new ground was broken in aesthetic thought, particularly in the fields of art collecting, poetry criticism, connoisseurship of flowers, and the song lyric. Collectively these activities constitute much of what was distinctive about Northern Song culture. Yet the subjects treated here were unprecedented when they appeared; consequently, bold exploration was coupled with anxiety about the worth of these interests, especially given the Confucian biases against these pursuits.

Despite differences in each area, certain overarching themes surface repeatedly. Together, these interests and choices suggest a logic behind the new directions of literati culture in the Northern Song. By focusing on the "problem of beauty," the author calls attention to the difficulties that Northern Song innovators faced in justifying these new pursuits.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674022645
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Series:
Harvard East Asian Monographs Series, #271
Pages:
382
Product dimensions:
7.95(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.33(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Rethinking "Traces" from the Past: Ouyang Xiu on Stone Inscriptions

2. A New Poetry Criticism: The Creation of "Remarks on Poetry"

3. The Poeony's Allure: Botanical Treatises and Floral Beauty

4. Art Collecting and Its Discontents in the Lives of Su Shi, Wang Shen, and Mi Fu

5. The Song Lyric, Part 1: The Trouble with Love

6. The Song Lyric, Part 2: A new Critical Discourse, a New Male Voice

Conclusion: The Aesthetics of Social Class, Marketplace, and Gender

Works Cited

Index

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