An Interpretation of the Traditional Criticisms on the Configuration of Classical Prose Movement of Tang and Song dynasties
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Since the demonstration by Mao Kun’s 茅坤 Tang Song ba dajia wenchao 唐宋大家文鈔, critics mostly use the specific term 一 “The Eight Great Writers of Tang and Song” (ba dajia 八大家) to comment on the classical prose of Tang and Song dynasties; and the combined statement of “Classical Prose Movement of Tang and Song dynasties” (Tang Song guwen yundong 唐宋古文運動) is widely accepted by the contemporaries. In fact, the formation of the title of “The Eight Great Writers of Tang and Song” and the combination of discussion on Tang and Song’s classical prose movement experience a detailed clarification. This paper, through the comparative study of the traditional criticisms on the Classical Prose Movement of Tang and Song dynasties, states that (1) Classical prose writers, such as Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 and Su Shi 蘇軾, intend to use their prose writing linking with “the unification of literature” (wentong 文統) of Classical Prose Movement of mid-Tang dynasty which is enhancing the configuration of Classical Prose Movement of Tang and Song dynasties. (2) Since Southern Song dynasty, Critics acknowledge that “Han Yu 韓愈, Liu Zhongyuan 柳宗元, Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 and Su Shi 蘇軾" are the four masters of the classical prose of Tang and Song dynasties; in addition to the development of classical prose criticisms of Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties, the title of “The Eight Great Writers of Tang and Song” has canonized by the literary circle. (3) After the configuration of “Eight Great Writers”, literati do not concentrate on the evaluation on the doctrine of “literature as a vehicle to convey the way” (Wen yi zai dao 文以載道) by Han Yu and Ouyang Xiu, but mainly shift to the clarification of Classical Prose Movement as a successful movement of “literature”.
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