Reading between the Lines of a Classical Chinese Prose Anthology

Guwen guanzhi as a Subtle Challenge to State Orthodoxy

Authors

  • Jyrki Kallio Finnish Institute of International Affairs

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25365/jeacs.2020.1.59-87

Keywords:

Literary Chinese, anthologies, orthodoxy, censorship, Guwen guanzhi, 中國文學, 選集, 正統觀念, 審查制度, 《古文觀止》

Abstract

Guwen guanzhi, first published in 1695, is the most renowned anthology of classical Chinese prose, and is still widely read in schools within Greater China. This article challenges the conventional assumptions that such anthologies in general echoed the imperial orthodoxy, and could not favour heterodox views, and that Guwen guanzhi in particular was just an ordinary anthology based on an imperially approved model, Guwen yuanjian, without any other independent merits than its concise size. The analysis in this article suggests that Guwen guanzhi promoted diversity of thought and autonomous virtue both in terms of its approach to education and its critique towards authoritarianism. While it is impossible to say how intentional this was on the part of the anthology’s compilers, Guwen guanzhi is nevertheless an example of how unorthodox ideas could have been promoted in a subdued manner.

1695年首次發行的《古文觀止》是中國最知名的一部文言散文選集,至今仍在大中華地區學校中被學生廣泛閱讀。長期以來,學界認為該選集代表了對帝國正統觀念的認同,不讚同任何異端觀點。而《古文觀止》本身只是以官方認可的《古文淵鑒》作為模本,除了簡明扼要這一特點之外別無長處的一本普通選集。本文試圖對這些看法提出挑戰。作者認為就提供了教育的途徑及對權威主義的批評而言,《古文觀止》促進了思想的多樣性和獨立自主的品德養成。如今學者已經無法得知選集編纂者的具體用心,儘管如此,《古文觀止》仍然是一個表明非正統觀點曾經是通過柔和的方式推廣的良好範例。

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Published

2021-03-07

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