Retrospect and Prospect of the Scholarship on “Brush Talks” of East Asian Literati
Keywords:東亞, 文人, 筆談, 回顧, 展望, East Asia, literati, “brush talks”, retrospect, prospect
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Before the mid-nineteenth century, the East Asian area was a Chinese cultural circle. One important indicator is the fact that all the intellectuals of this cultural circle could use Chinese characters to write and to communicate. And, they took pride in it. When the literati of East Asia communicated face to face, a special means was employed, namely “brush talk.” The term “brush talk” literally means communicating with the writing brush rather than the tongue, with characters rather than language. In a narrow sense, it refers specifically to the method of communication that is conducted via the written language instead of spoken language at a meeting between people from two or more countries who share a common writing form but differ in speaking. The present essay discusses “brush talk” in its narrow sense. The period of its discussion is no later than the twentieth century. It reviews and evaluates the documented history and scholarship of “brush talks. “On this basis, we put forth our scholarly prospects and emphasize “the Chinese cultural circle as a method.”
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