The rethinking of emotion : the transformation of traditional Chinese literary criticism in the late Qing era

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Journal article

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Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies

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This paper examines the rethinking of emotion, an issue of pivotal importance in Chinese literary criticism, by three late Qing thinkers – Gong Zizhen 龔自珍(1792-1841), Liang Qichao 梁啓超(1873-1929), and Lu Xun 魯迅(1881-1936). There are two main tasks to be accomplished. The first is to consider how these three thinkers modified or rejected the traditional views of emotion. I will discuss how they re-defined its origin, its psychological impact on the individual, its moral and didactic functions in society, and its cosmological significance in ways unknown to earlier critical traditions. The second is to examine how they formulated new views of emotion in the contexts of their endeavors to reform or transform Chinese individuals and society. I will demonstrate that they advocated new types of emotion, new expressive modes and/or new forms of literature, mainly because they considered them most conducive to the fostering of their respective ideal individuals and to the building of their respective new societies.

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Cai, Z. (1997). The rethinking of emotion: The transformation of traditional Chinese literary criticism in the late Qing era. Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies, 45, 63-110. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40727392