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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


A General Interpretation of “Wenfu”

Vol. 33 No. 2   3/2003


A General Interpretation of “Wenfu”


Sherman Chu









Key words

literary creation, metaphors, studies of the super natural


    The study of “Wenfu” (Rhapsody on Literary Creation) has been far from satisfactory since in the end of the Qing dynasty. Researchers were not able to give a word-by-word explanation of its literal meaning, nor were they insightful enough to recognize the theoretical perspectives of the workthey mistook theoretical principles to be technical guidelines for composition. These two situations actually have a mutual cause and effect relationship. This paper is divided into five sections. First, we are going to determine the date of “wenfu”. Next, we will investigate the author’s motives of writing by looking into the historical background. In the following two sections, we will point out the core concern of “wenfu”discussing various features of literary creation from an ontological point of viewby examining the thoughts of the time and its use of metaphors. By doing so, we are allowed to understand why Lu Ji chose “fu”, a literary style not suitable for reasoning, as a vehicle to state his theory. Finally, the relations between author and work, author and reader, and author and him/herself are discussed from the perspectives of literary practice.



Author: Sherman Chu
Genre: Article
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