Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: by Dr Alexander Beecroft

By Dr Alexander Beecroft

During this publication, Alexander Beecroft explores how the earliest poetry in Greece (Homeric epic and lyric) and China (the Canon of Songs) advanced from being neighborhood, oral, and nameless to being textualized, interpreted, and circulated over more and more wider parts. Beecroft re-examines representations of authorship as present in poetic biographies resembling Lives of Homer and the Zuozhuan, and within the works of alternative philosophical and ancient authors like Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Confucius, and Sima Qian. lots of those anecdotes and narratives have lengthy been rejected as spurious or inspired via naïve biographical feedback. Beecroft argues that those texts successfully negotiated the tensions among neighborhood and pan-cultural audiences. The determine of the writer hence served as a catalyst to a feeling of shared cultural id in either the Greek and chinese language worlds. It additionally facilitated the emergence of either cultures because the bases for cosmopolitan international orders.

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1 Explicit Poetics in Greece and China Points of Divergence and Convergence A discussion of the explicit poetics of Greece and China, which occupies this chapter, will provide helpful context for the discussion of the implicit poetics found in scenes of authorship in each culture. The beginnings of poetic theory are in both cases rather shadowy. 2 ( 46) Less concisely but more helpfully, early philosophical texts such as the Analects and the Mencius contain more detailed discussions of the role 1 2 Russell and Winterbottom (1972) 1–84 offers translations of these and other pertinent texts.

When Aristotle discusses our delight in viewing images of the corpses of ugly animals, it is (perhaps) clear that it is representation that is at stake; there seems to be no particular question of such images being a ritual reenactment of myth. That said, the conclusion of the passage suggests otherwise. Aristotle’s emphasis on the need for prior experience of the thing depicted, if we are to appreciate a mimˆesis as such, seems to return us to ritual and reenactment. Our pleasure in watching a mimˆesis of Hector and Andromache, say, lies in our ability to recognize the connection between “this” reenacting of Hector on stage before us, and “that” reenacted Hector of myth.

I develop my own version of this argument in the Chinese half of the book. Recent scholarship (Wang Baoxuan (2001), Fukui (2005), Nylan (2009)) has cast doubt on the traditional narrative that the state sponsorship of Ruist classical scholarship became entrenched under Han Wudi, suggesting that the Five Classics did not yet constitute a coherent corpus, and that the study of other texts, such as those of the Huang-Lao school, carried more weight at the court of Wudi. In this new view, the entrenchment of the Ruist study of the classics took root under Wang Mang and in the early Eastern Han, partly as a critique of the Qin (as had been assumed to be Explicit Poetics in Greece and China 31 From this perspective, the Record of Rites passage is highly suggestive.

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