The Controversy of the Allusion “Two Hundred Years of Writing of the Ministry of Personnel” in Ouyang Xiu’s “A Gift Poem for Wang Jiefu”
Keywords:歐陽修, 王安石, 酬贈詩, 吏部, 奉酬永叔見贈, Ouyang Xiu, Wang Anshi, gift poems, Ministry of Personnel, “A Poem in Response to Yongshu’s Gift Poem”
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072) wrote a verse that reads “Two hundred years of writing of the Ministry of Personnel” to Wang Anshi (1021-1086). Scholars of later generations have different views on the referent of “Ministry of Personnel,” which resulted in distortion of the images of Ouyang and Wang in anecdotal records. By analyzing the journals and notes on poetry, this study surveys the different explanations of the allusion to the Ministry of Personnel found in Song- dynasty sources. Some argued that the phrase carries Shen Yue’s (441-531) praise of Xie Tiao (464-499), while others suggested that it was derived from the writing of Sun Qiao (ca. 867). The different theories on the source of this allusion have resulted in various anecdotes with denigration of the images of Ouyang and Wang. These speculative views were mainly based on the personal interpretation of respective scholars. Without offering specific evidence, these premature views of the allusion in the poem even form distortion of the truth. The present study further explores the time when Ouyang Xiu glorified the writing of Han Yu (768-824) and when Sun Qiao criticized Han, and thereby argues that “the Ministry of Personnel” refers to Han and “two hundred years” to the time when Ouyang Xiu succeeded Han’s literary legacy. The verse “two hundred years of writing of the Ministry of Personnel” was not an allusion but was Ouyang Xiu’s creation. This study can clarify the context of the controversy and reconstruct the accurate images of Ouyang Xiu and Wang Anshi. In addition, through an analysis of the sequence and comparison of relevant data, this study provides examples and allows readers to recognize and analyze the poetry and the interpretations of allusions as recorded and discussed in notes on poetry.
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