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Han Yu and the T'ang Search for Unity

Han Yu and the T'ang Search for Unity

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 470
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  • Book Info
    Han Yu and the T'ang Search for Unity
    Book Description:

    This work is a comprehensive study of Han Yu (768-824), a principal figure in the history of the Chinese Confucian tradition.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5428-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
    (pp. 3-15)

    Han Yü (768–824) ranks among the most important personalities in the history of traditional Chinese culture. Students of classical Chinese literature appreciate him primarily as an advocate for reform of the existing prose style known as “parallel prose” (p’ien-wen) and as the first notable practitioner of a radically different prose called the “literature of Antiquity” (ku-wen). But Han Yü was much more than a reformer of style. The Chinese literati of premodern times were closer to the mark when they looked to Han Yü as one of their tradition’s most eloquent spokesmen for a fundamental renewal of Confucian moral...

  5. CHAPTER ONE The Life of Han Yü
    (pp. 16-118)

    Fragments of an official genealogy compiled during Han Yü’s lifetime trace the origin of the Han surname to the feudal principality of Han, which became independent when the hegemony of Chin was partitioned in 376 B.C. The Ch’in empire conquered and incorporated the Han statelet into its Yingch’uan prefecture in 230 B.C. The earliest Han ancestor listed in this genealogy is Han Hsin, whom Liu Pang enfeoffed as King of Ying-ch’uan in 202 B.C. for services rendered in the epic struggle against Hsiang Yü. Han Hsin later defected to the Hsiung-nu, but Han forces eventually captured and executed him in...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Politics of Empire
    (pp. 119-172)

    In 647, two years before his death, Emperor T’ai-tsung, first architect of the T’ang state, put the following question to his assembled courtiers: “Since Antiquity, many emperors have brought peace to the Chinese lands but were unable to bring the Jung and the Ti into submission. My abilities do not reach to those of the Ancients, yet my achievements have surpassed theirs. I do not understand the reasons for this.” When his courtiers replied in unison with their usual flatteries, the great monarch, as was no doubt his intention, answered his own question: there were five reasons for his unique...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Oneness of the Sage
    (pp. 173-210)

    In recent times it has been usual to disparage Han Yü’s status as a creative thinker and to negate his contributions to the realm of purely speculative thought. This development arose from the attempt by some early twentieth-century Chinese intellectuals to isolate from the holistic world views of premodern Chinese thinkers only those elements that could contribute to a history of the evolution of a “Chinese philosophy” (che-hsüeh) conceived along Western lines. Thinkers, especially Confucian thinkers like Han Yü, whose contributionsappearedto be simple reorderings of earlier elements and ideas, fared badly in this process. There was the additional...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Unity of Style
    (pp. 211-276)

    Han Yü’s sheer prowess and stature as a man of letters have often daunted later scholars who, like the prudent Ts’ui Ch’ün, shrank before the prospect of engaging Han Yü on the subject of literature. As a result, the “writings that lifted the decadence of eight dynasties” have seldom drawn critical analyses equal to the task of explaining their literary success.² The discomfort of the Sung Neo-Confucians with imaginary literature and their corollary emphasis on Han Yü as moralist and Confucian spokesman further impeded dispassionate contemplation of his literary accomplishments. Scholars of this persuasion, and they live on in a...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 277-373)
    (pp. 374-404)
    (pp. 405-421)
    (pp. 422-459)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 460-460)