A Study of Lingnan Ci-poetry of the Daoguang and Xianfeng Eras, with a Focus on Chen Li and His Social Network
Keywords:嶺南, 江南, 陳澧, 交遊, 粤東詞鈔, Lingnan, Jiangnan, Chen Li, Social network, Selected Ci-poems from Eastern Canton Province
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Lingnan has long been seen as an uncivilized region throughout Chinese history. In the early 19th century, Ruan Yuan (1764-1849) established the Xuehai tang in Guangzhou. He introduced the theory of evidential research from the Jiangnan region, and thereby consummated the formation of the Cantonese literati’s cultural identity.
Previous research of Lingnan ci-poetry has laid more emphasis on its transitions in the late Qing dynasty than the Daoguang, Xianfeng, and Tongzhi reign-periods. This article focuses on the ci-poetry of Chen Li (1810-1882) and its peripherals to observe his social network and the development of Lingnan ci-poetry. First, it takes the perspective of cultural reception to observe that most of the Lingnan literati’s ancestors were immigrants from Jiangnan in the early to middle stages of the Qing dynasty; therefore, they succeeded not only the academic tradition of Jiangnan but also the cultural identity and literary aesthetics. This explains why Chen Li and his fellow literati took the aesthetics of the School of Western Zhejiang as an evaluation standard for ci-poetry. Second, in addition to tracing the history of Lingnan to the Southern Han Kingdom (917-971) by examination of relevant historical evidence, the Xuehai tang scholars organized poetry clubs and compiled Lingnan ci-poetry anthologies to represent the uniqueness of Lingnan culture.
The study of Chen Li, an immigrant from Jiangnan and a leader of the Xuehai tang, and his social network not only enables us to understand Lingnan ci-poetry in the mid and late Qing dynasty, but benefits us by learning a different facet of the development of the ci-poetry of the region.
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