The xing : a comparative approach to Chinese theories of the literary symbolic
Wang, Nian En (1992) The xing : a comparative approach to Chinese theories of the literary symbolic. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
WRAP_THESIS_En_1992.pdf - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1411263~S15
This thesis is intended to be a comparative approach to Chinese theories of the
literary symbolic by way of a comprehensive investigation of the term xing [Chinese symbol].
The xing has a long history of over two thousand years, is capable of protean
meanings and generally considered very confusing. In the Introduction of the
present work, a historical review of the study of the xing provides a map of the
terrain in this area. Following this, a discussion of methodology is unfolded and
suggestions are made that the general aim of this thesis is not to search for a
"true" or "essential" meaning of the xing, but to examine how the word has
actually been used in Chinese literary studies and to explore as much as possible
its explicit and potential meanings. The ideal way of approaching an issue of this
nature, the thesis suggests, would be a four-fold one, namely, the historical,
descriptive, analytical and comparative approach. In this study, comparative
approach is in the predominant position.
The first part is designed to reveal the meanings of the xing and a number of
other relevant terms. Through a descriptive analysis of the statements by major
critics in various historical periods and by invoking Western theories of
literature, the thesis discusses the multiple meanings of the xing, the intrinsic
relationship between these meanings and the nature of poetic creation which
In the second part, a contour is drawn to demonstrate the mainstreams of
Western theories of symbolism from Romanticism to Modernism. A number of
important critics, such as Goethe, Coleridge, Carlyle, Mallarme and T. S. Eliot,
are discussed and analysed, thus preparing the ground for an all-round
comparison. The comparative study in this work is conducted in two ways: 1)
Western theories of symbolism are applied to the interpretation of Chinese
concepts and 2) Examples are presented to demonstrate the amazing similarities
in the way Chinese and Western critics deal with the issue of the literary
symbolic, so as to attain a better understanding of both.
The xing not only has multiple meanings but its meanings also work on different
levels. Hence, the comparison has to be a three dimensional one: xing is
compared and contrasted with fu and bi, and these three terms are compared
with parallel Western notions of sign, allegory and symbol; moreover, these
comparisons are made on four levels - as rhetorical devices, as modes of
writing, as aesthetic tendencies and as modes of interpretation.
In the concluding chapter, a summary is given highlighting several major points
at which the East and the West come closest and an attempt is made to reveal
the underlying theoretical reasons.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Chinese language -- Etymology, Chinese characters, Symbolism in literature|
|Official Date:||July 1992|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies|
|Sponsors:||University of Wisconsin-Madison|
|Extent:||iv, 299 leaves|
Actions (login required)