By Dr Alexander Beecroft
During this publication, 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 components. Beecroft re-examines representations of authorship as present in poetic biographies similar to Lives of Homer and the Zuozhuan, and within the works of alternative philosophical and historic authors like Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Confucius, and Sima Qian. a lot of those anecdotes and narratives have lengthy been rejected as spurious or stimulated by means of naïve biographical feedback. Beecroft argues that those texts successfully negotiated the tensions among neighborhood and pan-cultural audiences. The determine of the writer therefore served as a catalyst to a feeling of shared cultural id 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
Introduction 25 English derivatives we too easily assimilate. When transliterating from Chinese, I consistently use the Hanyu pinyin transliteration system used in the People’s Republic of China, now the almost universal standard in recent American Sinological scholarship, with the exception of the names of twentieth-century ethnically Chinese scholars, where I use the form most commonly found (generally, Hanyu pinyin for scholars from the People’s Republic of China and the older Wade-Giles system for scholars based in Taiwan, with exceptions).
My first two points pertain to areas in which these texts (and related texts) are generally thought to diverge, namely in the relation of poetry to the constitution of the state and the role of representation and transmission in poetry. The final point of comparison has, I believe, received less satisfactory comparative treatment to date, namely the relationship between composition and performance. Although there are differences between the two texts on all three points, my readings will aim to challenge the relevance of these differences to master narratives of cultural difference.
This emphasis on the creation of poetry, which I have earlier aligned with indexicality as opposed to iconicity, reinforces the bidirectionality of the relationship between poetry and the state. Plato shows us how music can destroy the city; the Mao Preface suggests rather that bad music is symptomatic of the destruction of the state, and that good music can build it. This last theme does find a home in other sorts of Greek writing about poetry, especially in biographical accounts of poets; I will return to this theme in detail in Chapters 3 and 4.