典論 Dian Lun

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Engelse titel: Authoritive Discourses

This work initially in twenty chapters,com­posed when Cao pi [Ts'ao P'i] was first chosen as Crown Prince (217-218), exists now only in fragments.
Een hoofdstuk ervan de Lun Wen 論文 - Discourse on Literature is overgeleverd.

Authoritative Discourses belonged to a long tradition of collected discourses on general knowl­edge, and such collections usually included at least one essay treating some aspect of language or writing. The "Discourse" however,is structurally unique. Cao Pi wrote in the "plain style" advocated by Wang Chong 王充 [Wang Ch'ung] in his collected discourses, the Lun-heng 論衡; but there are forces at work in “A Discourse on Literature" that twist the line of thought at key points and produce an argument more quirky and personal than anything in the lucidly magistral expositions of Wang Chong. (Owen 1992 p 57

Cao Pi’s essay provided the first clear discussion of how literature expressed its author’s character: “In literature bodily energies [qi] are the decisive factor. The purity or turbidity of these energies has a fixed form, so they cannot be attained by force or effort. Compare it to music: even if the melody is the same and the tempo identical, when it comes to differences in drawing on one’s energies, skill or ineptitude are innate. Although they may be found in the father or elder brother, they cannot be transmitted to a son or younger brother.” Lewis China between empires p 232-233)


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