By Dr Alexander Beecroft
During this ebook, 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 corresponding to Lives of Homer and the Zuozhuan, and within the works of alternative philosophical and old authors like Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Confucius, and Sima Qian. lots of those anecdotes and narratives have lengthy been rejected as spurious or stimulated through 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 identification 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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Extra resources for Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: Patterns of Literary Circulation
Much depends on the sense of the reference to Old Peng at the end of the passage. Peng (glossed somewhat inadequately by Arthur Waley as “the Chinese Nestor”)28 was a legendary minister whose lifespan extended from the Xia dynasty across the Shang and into the Zhou. The epithet “old,” a common term of endearment in Chinese, is in his case earned; the tradition reports that he lived over eight hundred years. In this role as a quasi-immortal he features prominently in the Daoist philosophical collection the Zhuangzi (where his lifespan is frequently characterized as short, for paradoxical effect),29 and in later Daoist tradition as the originator of various practices of longevity.
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. Some of these passages will be discussed in more detail in subsequent chapters. This is a difficult text to date; as noted in the introduction, the Canon of Yao must include some authentic Shang material, even though much of the text appears to have been composed in the Eastern Han or later (Nylan (2001) 132–3).
35 In each case, talking about the author turns out to be a convenient way to talk about how texts are read or written. If this is true for our times, it is, I argue, still more true for the opposite end of the historical record. The greatest intrinsic interest that ancient accounts of authorship should hold for us lies not in what they have to say about authors, but in the theories of literature that they imply and embody. To write the life of an author, especially in default of reliable documentary evidence (the case for most of the materials I study here), is inevitably to reveal, intentionally or no, one’s assumptions about how and why literature is produced.
Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: Patterns of Literary Circulation by Dr Alexander Beecroft