Poetic Language: Zhuāngzǐ and Dù Fǔ's Confucian Ideals

Lee H. Yearley

in Ethics in Early China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028931
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209800 | DOI:
Poetic Language: Zhuāngzǐ and Dù Fǔ's Confucian Ideals

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Zhuāngzǐ not only lives within the later poetic tradition, but that tradition also grapples with, is even mesmerized by, both the “core” text and the early interpretive attempts which appear in the volume entitled the Zhuāngzǐ. Zhuāngzǐ's effect on specific poets is often clear, and illuminating examples include Táo Qián, Lǐ Bái, and Sū Shì. This chapter examines here, however, a different kind of example, the one presented by Dù Fǔ (712–770). This example features an explicit attempt to marry early Confucian ethical ideals with Zhuāngzǐ's ideals, and it thereby focuses attention on features more often than not absent from Zhuāngzǐ. Most notable are tensions that, for Dù Fǔ, define the human situation, especially ones which have an ethical component, such as those between service to one's own genuine needs and service to the larger community, and thus also among the competing roles each endeavor produces.

Keywords: poetic tradition; ngzǐ; Táo Qián; Bái; Dù Fǔ

Chapter.  9340 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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