The Erotic Tradition of Chinese Poetry in East Asia ———A Case Study of Cai Dading, a Ryukyu Poet
Keywords:艷詩, 東亞漢詩, 蔡大鼎, 意淫, 域外漢籍, Erotic poetry, Chinese poetry in East Asia, Cai Dading, psycholagny, pre-modern Chinese documents preserved outside China
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Erotic poetry is a unique style of Chinese poetry in East Asia. Cai Dading (Japanese spelling: Sai Taitei, b. 1823), a poet who hailed from Ryukyu but traveled to numerous provinces in China in his tenure as an envoy, wrote a number of poems on pleasure seeking in entertainment quarters. His admiration and emulation for the interactions between intellectuals and entertainers gave rise to his “poetics of psycholagny.” On the other hand, his selective approach towards writing resulted in poetic works that were not really colored by personal feelings but were simply realistic reconstructions of imagery from entertainment quarters in late Qing times. In addition, his “attachment to island ladies’ sentiments” are revealed in his dealing with the traditional theme of “the sojourner missing his forlorn wife.” Comparing Cai’s erotic poetry with its counterparts in Japan and Korea, we observe that they each had distinct origins marked by their respective national characteristics. This comparative study shall yield hints to the reconstruction of how erotic poetry was received and transmitted in East Asian countries.
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