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Rethinking Literary Form in the Historical Transition of Early Republican Period: A Study on Lu-Qian’s Theories and Works of Classical Poetry, Ci Poetry, and Sanqu
Classical Literature in Early Republican Period
Literature of Republican Period of China
Lu-Qian was a famous scholar specialized in Ci and Qu poetry during the Early Republican Period. Not only he dedicated his work to develop traditional poetic composition theories and wrote magnificent verses in both modern and classical poetry, he also elaborated ideas regarding Sanqu with Ren-Na(任訥) and became an important founder of Sanqu discipline. Adopting cross genres research method, this study aims to observe how Lu-Qian reviewed the connections between “new” and “old” , “China” and “west” , “vernacular language” and “classical language” and analyze how he renovated the forms of classical poetry during the turmoil of Early Republican Period. In addition, through the combination of literary forms theories with texts, this thesis discusses how Lu-Qian's variety of traditional rhymed writings responded to the historical transition and rebuilt the poet's self. This research focuses mainly on three perspectives to solve the above mentioned questions: Chapter Ⅱ, “Creating Literary Forms”, takes this period of transition, that involved changes in China's political and educational system, as background and investigates how historical framework influenced Lu-Qian’s entire life, his thought and his works. Chapter Ⅲ, “The Theoretical System of Literary Form”, explores the differentiation of disciplines carried on by the poet, aimed to redefine the characteristics and the development of Classical Poetry, Ci Poetry, and Sanqu; for this purpose, he started from three main assumptions: the commonness of literary forms, the differentiation of literary forms and their historical development. Moreover, it expounds Lu-Qian's strategies to construct the discipline field of Sanqu. Chapter Ⅳ, “Literary Forms Realization Process”, combines the above mentioned perspectives discussed in the first two chapters of the study, then classifies Lu-Qian’s works into two separated periods in which it is possible to witness a change in his concept of literary forms, and the arising of his writing awareness. He moved from a confused and hesitating state of mind to the creation of the new pattern of “Republic of China Poem”, that is the conclusive application of his theories to practical composition. Through this analysis, the research shows, on one hand, how Lu-Qian’s new vision differs from his teacher Wu-Mei(吳梅) and the first generation of Xueheng school(學衡派) thought. He strived to close the gap between modern and classical forms and found in Sanqu form the equilibrium point between these two ends. On the other hand, he also continued Wu-Mei’s ideas by reducing the distance between theory and text, revising old concepts in a modern light, finding new possibilities for literary creation, and giving the traditional form a new life. From this point of view, through the years the achievements of the Republican Period's scholars have deep effects on the current generation, and how to read the future by reconsidering the past is a question worth to ponder for contemporary scholars. In conclusion, this study proposes a research method on literature. It consists in the observation on the interaction of historical and literary transition, and by using a cross genres analysis, it finds the connection between theories and works, which may bring new developments in “classical literature in Early Republican Period” and “specialist research” fields.
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