International Symposium “Back into Modernity: Classical Poetry and Intellectual Transition in Modern China” “拋入現代”: 古典詩歌與現代中國的思想嬗變

Frankfurt, Germany
4th – 5th Jul 2014

Casino Anbau 1.802
Campus Westend
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Organizer: Zhiyi Yang, Jun.-Prof. Dr.
Department of Sinology

Sponsor: Confucius China Studies Program



July 04, 2014


9:30-10:00 Opening Ceremony 開幕式
Speaker: Vice President Prof. Lutz-Bachmann; IZO-Director Arndt Graf
10:00-10:30 Keynote Speech 主題報告

Speaker: Jerry D. Schmidt 施吉瑞
10:30-10:45 Coffee Break 茶歇
10:45-12:45 Panel I: Modernity of the “Conservatives” 保守派的現代性
 [Discussant: Jon von Kowallis 寇志明]
Qian Nanxiu 錢南秀: “Shen Queying: A Reform Martyr’s Widow or a Reform Martyr Herself?”
Jerry D. Schmidt施吉瑞: “Li Ruqian, the Lu Xun of the Nineteenth Century”
Lin Tsung-Cheng 林宗正: “The Poetic Transition and Modernity in Chen Sanli’s Ancient-Style Verse”
12:45-14:00 Lunch @ Sturm und Drang 狂飆突進午餐會 (Campus Westend)
14:00-15:15 Panel II: Transcultural Literacy跨文化書寫 I
[Discussant: Karl-Heinz Pohl卜松山]
Du Chunmei 杜春媚: “Transcultural Literacy: Gu Hongming on Classical Language and Poetry”
Kang-I Sun Chang 孫康宜: “Shi Zhecun’s Wartime Poems, 1937-1941”
15:15-15:45 Coffee Break 茶歇
15:45-17:45 Panel III: Literary Societies in the Time of Change 世變中的詩社
[Discussant: Michael Lackner 朗宓榭]
Lam Lap 林立: “Collective Voice of Traditional Song Lyricists: Oushe and Other Ci Societies in Republican China”
Lin Hsiang-ling林香伶: 世變下的詩學文化──論南社詩話之尊情傳統與敘述策略
Sun Zhimei 孫之梅: 從詩界革命到南社:新古體詩的蛻生
18:30-21:00 Dinner “聖”宴 @ La Divina (Feldbergstraße 30, 60323 Frankfurt)


July 05, 2014


9:00-11:00 Panel IV: Everything within a Family 到底一家人:周氏兄弟專題
[Discussant: Olga Lomová 羅然]
Jon von Kowallis 寇志明: “Recontextualizing Lu Xun’s Early Thought and Classical-style Essays”
Fredrik H. Green葛浩德: “Haiku for China? Zhou Zuoren’s Search for Poetic Modernity within Traditional Asian Verse”
Yang Haosheng楊昊昇: “Affection or Disaffection: Zhou Zuoren and the Poetics of a Traitor”
11:00-11:15 Coffee Break 茶歇
11:15-12:30 Panel V: Transcultural Literacy 跨文化書寫 II
[Discussant: Rüdiger Breuer柏睿晨]
Zhang Hui 張暉: “Modern Poet Feng Zhi and Chinese Classic Literature”
Kim Sukyung金洙京: on Huang Zunxian
12:30-14:00 Lunch @ Sturm und Drang狂飆突進午餐會 (Campus Westend)
14:00-16:00 Panel VI: The Construction of Genres 舊體新聲
[Discussant: Ulrike Middendorf 梅道芬]
Raoul D. Findeisen馮鐵: “The Doggerel (dayoushi 打油詩) as Sublimated Tradition”
Yang Zhiyi 楊治宜: “The Modernity of the Archaic-Style Gexing Verse”
Wu Shengqing 吳盛青: “Lyrical and Visual Selves: Autobiographical Moments in Modern China”
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break 茶歇
16:30-17:15 General Discussion 綜合討論
17:15-17:30 Closing Remarks 總結報告
Speaker: Zhiyi Yang
18:30-21:00 “Elegant Gathering with Classical Poetry” 蘋果酒館的雅集 @ Lorsbacher Thal (Große Rittergasse 49, 60594 Frankfurt)




July 04, 2014

10:45-12:45 Panel I: Modernity of the “Conservatives” 保守派的現代性

Nanxiu Qian (Rice University, USA)
“Shen Queying: A Reform Martyr’s Widow or a Reform Martyr Herself?”

The late Qing woman poet Shen Queying 沈鵲應 (1877-1900) had lived in the shadow of her husband, the late Qing reform martyr Lin Xu林旭 (1875-1898). Even her death was featured in terms of the late imperial concept of a chaste widow by men reformers such as Liang Qichao and Chen Yan. This paper subverts the conventional portrayal of Shen Queying through reading her poems and song-lyrics in comparison with the poetic works of Lin Xu, to show that she herself was a reformer in her own right, and in this she was Lin Xu’s vocal soul-mate rather than his mute wife and then widow.
In her poems and song-lyrics, Shen Queying made clear that she had endeavored in poetic learning for expressing “the grand ambition of a racing steed” (qianli zhi 千里志), and her poetry sent unmistakable message of an ambition to become a political player herself in China’s reform era, to fight for the welfare of the country and the people. Yet, for some subtle reasons, she was not able to execute fully her strength and talent by personally participating in the reform functions, given that many of her fellow women did actively joined late Qing reforms. Out of frustration, she resolved to be a supporter and protector of her husband. Precisely because Shen Queying had put so much of her reform ideal into her husband’s career, the execution of Lin Xu fell on her as a double blow. Her pining away to death, although conforming to a seemingly late imperial lienü model, goes beyond the realm of traditional virtuous women and bears the clear marks of the reform era, when a woman tied her personal life closely to the destiny of the country and the people.  

Jerry D. Schmidt (University of British Columbia, Canada)
“Li Ruqian, the Lu Xun of the Nineteenth Century”

This paper discusses the biography, thought, literary theory, poetry and prose of Li Ruqian黎汝謙 (1852-1909), one of the more creative of the so-called Shatan沙灘 Group of authors, after the name of the town they came from in the vicinity of Zunyi 遵義 in Guizhou Province. These authors were all friends, relatives, or students of the great poet Zheng Zhen鄭珍 (1806-1864), who lived most of his life in the same place, Li being Zheng’s nephew and favorite student.  Although Li failed the Metropolitan Graduate examination two times, he was appointed Consul in Kobe 1882-1884, during which period he studied the political institutions and culture of Meiji Japan and the West, eventually translating Washington Irving’s biography of George Washington into Classical Chinese, a book which exercised a great influence on late Qing reformers and was probably even read by Lu Xun.  After the expiration of his term of office, Li was appointed Consul to Yokohama 1890-1893.
The age in which Li lived was certainly different from Lu Xun’s, but there are many interesting parallels between him and twentieth-century China’s greatest author.  Li’s literary theory strongly emphasized the importance of originality, and although he did not write in the vernacular, he also cultivated a style that was simpler and closer to spoken Chinese than many of his contemporaries.  During his second term in Japan his appreciation of Western culture and political institutions grew and he soon began espousing a thorough-going reform of Chinese government and society.  Even more remarkable was his abandonment of the idea of the centrality of Chinese culture for a world view of cultural relativity in which all cultures of the world are viewed as equally valid.  After his return to China Li became even more involved in reform act
ivities, but soon he became almost totally alienated from Chinese society and even began expressing strong doubts about the whole tradition of classical writing.  In his remarkable poems and prose works, he warned Chinese intellectuals to abandon their smug conservatism and adapt to the new world or perish, making fun of his own society in biting satirical pieces that remind one of the writings of Lu Xun’s May Fourth era.  Li Ruqian may, indeed, be the first Chinese author to develop the idea of Chinese inadequacy and guilt which is so common in the literature of the next century.  Unfortunately, Li, unlike Lu Xun, was unable to interest many of his contemporaries in his ideas, and he died a lonely and tragic death.

Tsung-Cheng Lin (University of Victoria, Canada)
“The Poetic Transition and Modernity in Chen Sanli’s Ancient-Style Verse”

The first half of the twentieth century is an important period of transition from traditional to modern literature. The majority of scholarship on the literary transition has paid special attention to fiction. However, poetry, which has been a most well-established and influential literary genre in ancient China, has been understudied. In fact, poets were greatly interested in the changes of that age, and devoted their compositions to reflect the literary, social and cultural transitions in a variety of ways. Examining the poetic transition is the key to better understanding the literary movement of that era.
Chen Sanli (1852-1937) is considered a most important poet in the poetic transition taking place between late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His father, Chen Baozhen (1831-1900), closely associated with Zeng Guofan (1811-1872), Liang Qichao (1873-1929), and Huang Zunxian (1848-1905), is a major figure in political reform of Late Qing. During the tenure of his father’s service to the Qing court, Chen Sanli closely witnessed the drastic change and reform of that period. His verse well records his time and his sentiments reflecting upon the change.
In his poems, Chen Sanli broke the conventional stereotypes, regulations and structural limitations of past poetry to create innovations in poetic form, as well as adopting a variety of writing devices such as the transformed metaphors and the abstruse diction. Within these invented poetic forms, converted metaphors and recondite diction, Chen Sanli experiments with new subject matters which were unprecedented in poetry before his time, and convey his psychological reactions such as oppression, anxiety, helplessness, fear, despair, and confusion toward the change and upheaval. All the poetic forms, metaphors, linguistic devices and emotions in Chen’s verse have a great impact on modern Chinese literature. This paper aims to examine how Chen’s verse promoted classical Chinese poetic tradition but also contributed to the transition from traditional to modern literature.  

14:00-15:15 Panel II: Transcultural Literacy跨文化書寫 I

Chunmei Du (University Western Kentucky, USA)
“Transcultural Literacy: Gu Hongming on Classical Language and Poetry”
To the early twentieth century world, Gu Hongming辜鴻銘 (1857-1928) was a staunch monarchist and Confucian propagandist. Born and raised in British Malaya, he grew up as an English-educated Romanticist who embraced European classics and attempted to become an “imitation Western man.” After converting to a “Chinaman again” in his late twenties, Gu started to learn classical Chinese and devoted his life to translating and promoting the Confucian classics. Gu views classical Chinese as a poetical language as “it speaks the heart.” To him, classical Chinese literature is difficult as it expresses “deep thought and deep feeling in extremely simple language.” Gu argues that in order to fully understand the language, one must have the “full nature,—the heart and the head, the soul and the intellect quality developed.” As such, only people with true education, instead of modern European education, can fully grasp the beauty of the language. Gu Hongming provides an intriguing case to reexamine classical Chinese poetry in global contexts. On the one hand, his own experience of learning the language and the classics allows us to analyze issues on transcultural literacy. On the other hand, his interpretations of them allow us to understand classical language and poetry in a more comparative context.

Kang-i Sun Chang (Yale University, USA)
“Shi Zhecun’s Wartime Poems, 1937-1941”

Shi Zhecun (1905-2003) was a modern Chinese literary superstar. In the early 1930s, Shi, then only in his twenties, had already established a canonical position for himself in the sphere of modernist fiction writing. But starting in fall 1937 when the Second Sino-Japanese War began, Shi suddenly changed direction and devoted his efforts to writing classical style poetry.   
This paper argues that it was Shi’s wartime experiences, especially during his refugee’s journey to Yunnan, that triggered his poetic inspiration to write in the classical form.
The paper also discusses how Shi’s poems, though written in the classical style, often expressed a kind of “modern” feeling. In other words, the poet utilized a complex, classical use of language to describe his own unique psychological impressions. In a way, Shi was actually using his kind of “modernist” fictional writing style to write poetry. Like the many psychological stories he had written, his poems often used classical references, while describing extremely modern emotions.  This kind of “freshness” in classicism is a very important feature of Shi’s Yunnan poems.   In some of his poems, we can experience his uses of what is called “synaesthesia” in poetry.  
 On the other hand, Shi Zhecun was undoubtedly influenced by the poetic technique of the Tang poet Li Huo’s 李贺 (791-817), but his imagery has the unique quality of “modernism,” which touches upon the level of “psychological/emotional truth.” Moreover, to Shi, Kunming seemed to represent an inner haven. If he had not traveled to Yunnan in the year of 1937 at the beginning of the war, the second half of his life would have been vastly different.

15:45-17:45 Panel III: Literary Societies in the Time of Change 世變中的詩社

Lap Lam (National University of Singapore)
“Collective Voice of Traditional Song Lyricists: Oushe and Other Ci Societies in Republican China”

A revival of ci writing was witnessed in the Qing dynasty, with the number of lyricists, ci publications and critical works far exceeded that of the Song, and various new themes and styles also developed. Emerging with this resurgence was the founding of scores of ci societies (cishe 詞社) which further stimulated the literati’s enthusiasm in ci and sharpened their writing skills through group corresponding compositions (changhe 唱和). After the fall of the Qing, some loyalists and traditional literati, following the examples of their predecessors, joined together to form a number of ci societies in Republican China. For loyalist-lyricists such as Zhu Zumou 朱祖謀, ci writing was not just one of the effective ways to convey their memories of the past. It also meant to be a gesture of practicing and preserving traditional Chinese culture. However, due to ideological bias, their works and the vitality of cishe did not receive sufficient attention from literary historians in the past. This paper attempts to reveal and examine the interesting features of cishe in the Republican era, asserting that within the collective voice of and harmonious correspondence among the traditional lyricists, there were always some dissonances occurred. First I will delineate a gene
ral picture of ci societies in Republican China, explicating the geographical distribution and social networks of ci lyricists and why lyricists from the Qing loyalist faction can associate with members of Nanshe 南社, an anti-Manchu literary society, and what this phenomenon means to us.  Then I will focus on Oushe 漚社, the ci society formed in Shanghai before the Japanese occupation of the city, and its group ci composition. Besides recounting Oushe members’ backgrounds and the details of their “refined gatherings,” I will bring into light the multifaceted thematic and stylistic features displayed in the members’ works.

林香伶 (台灣東海大學中文系)


孫之梅 (中國山東大學)


July 05, 2014

9:00-11:00 Panel IV: Everything within a Family 到底一家人:周氏兄弟專題

Jon Eugene von Kowallis (The University of New South Wales, Australia)
“Recontextualizing Lu Xun’s Early Thought and Classical-style Essays”

The early wenyan 文言 (classical-style) essays I propose to re-contextualize here are concerned with issues in literature, philosophy, politics and aesthetics during an era in which China went through profound cultural changes. Part of their significance lies in the way they provide us with an unabashed glimpse at what Lu Xun 魯迅 (Lu Hsün, orig. Zhou Shuren周樹人, 1881-1936), who was to become China’s most important writer of the twentieth century, set out to accomplish, early on, with his new-found literary career. Although they are mainly products of his Lehrjahre (student years) in Japan, particularly 1907-8 and of the immediate post-1911 Revolution periods, the fact that he chose to have the two longest of these essays – “On the Power of Mara Poetry” (Moluo shi li shuo 摩羅詩力說) and “Concerning Imbalanced Cultural Development” (Wenhua pianzhi lun 文化偏至論) – included in the first pages of his 1926 anthology Fen 坟 (“The Grave”), indicates that he considered the views expressed therein neither too immature nor too passé to reprint at the height of his career as a creative writer. In fact, he wrote that one of his reasons for doing so was that a number of the literary figures and issues treated here had, ironically, taken on an increased relevance for China “since the founding of the Republic.” The central concern of all the essays turns on questions of cultural crisis and transition. The first two focus on the history and philosophy of Western science and its significance, both in human history and to the world; the next three focus on the role of the intellectual vis-a-vis his or her own society; the last indicates Lu Xun’s view of the key role of art during an era of social and cultural change. Although the focus of the first four essays would seem at first glance to be predominantly on European personae and ideas, this impression is somewhat misleading. In fact, the agenda set by Lu Xun with these essays and the issues under argument here were principally Chinese. Other scholars, such as Kitaoka Masako 北岡正子have done an admirable job of tracing down the sources of the essays, or at least the longest of them: “On the Power of Mara Poetry.” What I propose to do in this paper is to re-examine the essays within the context in which they first appeared, i.e. the expatriate Chinese journal Henan 河南, then published in Tokyo as an unofficial organ of the anti-Manchu Tongmeng Hui 同盟會 or Revolutionary Alliance. To what extent did Lu Xun’s essays fit in and to what extent did they offer a contrast? What was the role played by his brother Zhou Zuoren 周作人 (1885-1967) in the journal and the writing?

Frederik F. Green (San Francisco State University, USA)
“Haiku for China? Zhou Zuoren’s Search for Poetic Modernity within Traditional Asian Verse”

When Chinese reformers grappled with the challenge of formulating a new Chinese poetic voice in the early decades of the twentieth century, Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967), one of modern China’s most influential intellectuals, believed that much could be learned from Japanese poets who in their quest for a modern Japanese poetry had not dismissed, but rather re-vitalized traditional Japanese verse forms. Of all the verse forms Japanese poets were experimenting with, Zhou was particularly fond of the modern haiku, a traditional poetic form that had been infused with new life by a number of Japanese haiku reformers of the Meiji and Taishō periods. Such verse, he believed, could at once be rooted in tradition, yet also channel a new modern subjectivity and be conducive to modernity.
My analysis of Zhou’s critical writings on the Japanese Haiku – both modern and traditional – will illustrate that Zhou Zuoren increasingly came to believe that a modern Chinese poetic voice needed to creatively engage with traditional Asian verse forms, both Chinese and Japanese. By analyzing a number of Zhou’s translations of Japanese verse from the M
eiji and Taishō periods as well as Chinese poems by Zhu Ziqing or Zheng Zhenduo, both of whom were influenced by Zhou, I will demonstrate the importance of Zhou’s creative imagination to the emergence of a new Chinese poetry. By reading Zhou against Western modernist poets and translators who themselves were inspired by traditional East Asian verse forms – Ezra Pound in particular – I will then comment on the degree to which Zhou’s interest in traditional Chinese and Japanese poetics challenges a perceived Western role in legitimizing such verse as conducive to modernism.

Haosheng Yang (Miami University of Ohio, USA)
“Affection or Disaffection: Zhou Zuoren and the Poetics of a Traitor”

This paper examines the lyricism of a traitor. Zhou Zuoren was a leading writer, theorist, and critic of the May Fourth New Culture Movement. He controversially detested the statist narrative of Nationalism, which had become an absolute priority in China since the Japanese aggression in the 1930s. From 1941 to 1943, Zhou stayed in Japanese-occupied Beijing and served the puppet government led by Wang Jingwei (1883-1944), so that he was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for treason after Japan’s surrender in 1945.
During wartime and his subsequent incarceration, Zhou composed more than two hundred classical-style poems, in which he stubbornly insisted on the superiority of the intellectual and moral freedom of the individual over patriotic nationalism. Zhou’s verses manifested an alternative representation of the Chinese nation based on individuality, locality, aesthetics, and a transnational vision of pan-Asianism. Concurring with his contentious political standpoint, Zhou did not follow the strict regulations of words in orthodox classical poetry, but wrote in the conventionally marginalized form of doggerel. Using simple, vigorous, artful, yet undecorated language to bridge his serious reflection on the problems of the complete authority of statehood over individual autonomy, Zhou’s doggerel-style verses exemplify his alternative, individual-oriented view of modern enlightenment. His stance led to his political failure but nonetheless successful in urging his readers to ponder the possible negative impacts of the dominant ideology and practice of Chinese Nationalism on modern life.
11:15-12:30 Panel V: Transcultural Literacy 跨文化書寫 II

Zhang Hui (Peking University, China)
“Modern Poet Feng Zhi and Chinese Classic Literature”

Feng Zhi (1905-1993) was one of the most representative modern poets after China’s “May 4th Movement” and Lu Xun even eulogized him as “the most distinguished Chinese lyric poet” in the Great Series of Chinese New Literature (1917-1927)(Zhongguoxinwenxuedaxi). However, in addition to that, Feng Zhi not only made a great contribution to found China’s Germanistik, but also played a vital role in the study of Chinese classic literature. His creative writings and academic practices not only show the difference between China and West in a view of modern Chinese literature and intellectual history, but especially highlight the dialogical relationship between the ancient and the modern.
This paper attempts to conduct a case study of Feng Zhi from three aspects to discuss the aforesaid dialogical relationship between the ancient and the modern. Firstly, Feng Zhi’s direct contact with Chinese classic literature in his academic and literary career will be illustrated, which is distinctly exemplified by his relationship with poetry of late Tang Dynasty in his earlier time as well as his own creation of classic poetry. His connection with Du Fu, a great poet in Tang Dynasty, will be particularly focused on, such as his chant to Du Fu in his Sonnets (Shisihangji) and the Biography of Du Fu (Dufuzhuan) written by him during late 1940s and early 1950s. Secondly, it is intended to discuss Feng Zhi’s contributions to the education and study of classic literature of new China. He did not just bend himself to the classic literature study, but partly represented the official will in a certain period as an authoritative organizer. He exerted some influence on the most important uniformly-compiled textbook on history of Chinese ancient literature, You Guoen’s History of Chinese Literature (Zhongguowenxueshi); he was an influential person in charge of Encyclopedia China and wrote the entry of Du Fu; he was also of great importance to review The Selections of Chinese Poetry (Zhongguolidaishigexuan) edited by Lin Geng and Feng Yuanjun. Thirdly, this paper attempts to connect Feng Zhi’s relation that he bears to Chinese classic literature with his lifetime writings and academic experience which span China and west, the ancient and the modern. Special attention will be attached to his reflection and critique of modernity as a modern poet, and the effect he brings about due to the reason that he hinges great hope on German and Chinese classic literature though he was considered as a great modern poet.


在中國詩歌的轉型歷程中,黃遵憲不僅是詩界革命中最優秀的詩人,而且他的詩歌繼承了中國詩歌史上的優良傳統,關注歷史大事件,用詩歌記錄、歌詠國家之苦難、民族之艱危。甲午戰爭、戊戌變法、庚子事變無疑是中國近代史上最重要的事件,黃遵憲以其“新思想”、“新意境”、“新語句”的詩歌記錄了這段歷史,展示了他詩歌特色的另一面:詩史的品質。 他以史家的春秋筆法,真實客觀地記錄下了中華民族在歷史轉型期的痛苦經歷;又以文學家對生活的觀察能力,展現了三大事件中歷史人物、歷史進程中的細節,使其詩歌具有了文學的品質;黃遵憲是富有激情的詩人,他以濃郁的愛國感情抒發了憤慨、悲痛、激烈、慷慨而又無奈的複雜感情,讀來讓人盪氣迴腸。

14:00-16:00 Panel VI: The Construction of Genres 舊體新聲

Raoul David Findeisen (Vienna University)
“The Doggerel (dayoushi 打油詩) as Sublimated Tradition”
[Abstract temporarily unavailable]

Zhiyi Yang (University of Frankfurt)
“The Modernity of the Archaic-Style Verse”

The archaic-style (guti 古體) verse was formalized in the early Tang as a reaction to the tightening meters of the regulated verse. In the hands of great Tang Dynasty poets, it has been used to articulate intense feelings, romantic imaginations, and frontier exotica, or to narrate complicated stories. This genre is a primary example of “reformation disguised as restoration,” which is a standing feature of how intellectual and cultural transformation happened in premodern China. Similar cases were found in 20th century China when the “National Essence” (guocui 國粹) school attempted to discover the roots of modernity in early Chinese philosophy. In a certain sense, they unconsciously sought for the indigenous “cultural roots” for modern nationalism.
Since the rhetoric of cultural continuity masked the newness of their creation, their efforts were often dismissed as conservative rather than innovative. Same things could be said of literature. This paper examines long archaic-style gexing 歌行poems by 20th century poets, such as Huang Zunxian 黃遵憲 (1848-1905), Wang Zhaoming 汪兆銘 (1883-1944), Liu Yazi 柳亞子 (1887-1958), Li Sichun 李思純 (1893-1960), and Lin Gengbai 林庚白 (1896-1941), among others. These
poems were written either as original composition or as loose translation of European poetry. Because of its greater structural flexibility in comparison to other classical genres, gexing appeared to be uniquely suitable to accommodate modern and especially Western terms and narratives. These poets’ compositions could be seen as attempts to adapt the classical tradition to a world in rapid transformation and, increasingly, as means of competition with the rising vernacular verse. Their dictions often betray a paradoxical effort at preserving and domesticating the alien, an effort that reaffirmed their cultural identity as simultaneously nationalist but also cosmopolite.

Shengqing Wu (Wesleyan University)
“Lyrical and Visual Selves: Autobiographical Moments in Modern China”

This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the poems and essays written by Chinese intellectuals on their self-portrait photos (including cross-dressed portraits) and examines the issue of how photography mediated their connections with interior selves and others. By falling back on Buddhist concepts of truth and illusion, these writers exhibited an ambivalence toward photography’s representational power. While the new medium challenged conventional notions of referentiality, and the sense of time and selfhood, it also evoked a range of self-conscious emotion, including self-affection, guilt, pride, and gendered sensibilities. While a given subject constantly resorted to old expressions to understand the modern self-image, this inscribed autobiographical moment signified perceptual and epistemological changes provided by new media.
This paper is a part of an ongoing book project, which examines the complex interactions between visual media techniques (photography in particular) and classical-style poetry during China’s turbulent period between the 1890s and the 1930s. Integrating visual and literary studies with the recent surge of academic studies on emotion, this project delineates the trajectory of the exchange and circulation of photos and paintings with accompanying poems. It also critically analyzes the evocation and transmission of emotions involved in networking and communal life as enacted by the propagation of images and texts, a phenomenon which contributed to configuring a new public amidst an emerging global consumer culture and media economy. 


Download this announcement as PDF



Leave a Comment