Key Chinese Concepts

2018-06-06 10:54:00 Source:China Today Author:
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shī yán zhì

Poetry Expresses Aspirations.


A poem expresses aspirations in one’s heart. Zhi (志) here means the author’s aspirations, emotions, and thoughts. The concept of “poetry expressing aspirations,” first seen in the Confucian classic The Book of Documents, was hailed by Zhu Ziqing as the “manifesto” of Chinese poetry. Enriched by poetry critics through the generations, it was later established as a basic concept in Chinese literary criticism.

引例 Citations:



Poems express aspirations deep in one’s heart, whereas songs are verses for chanting. (The Book of Documents)


( 诗是内心志向所生成的,在心中为志,形成言语就是诗。)

Poems come from aspirations. An aspiration in heart is an aspiration; an aspiration in words is a poem. (Preface to The Book of Songs)





shī yuán qíng

Poetry Springs from Emotions.


Poems originate from the poet’s heart-felt feelings. Lu Ji of the Western Jin Dynasty said in The Art of Writing that a poet must have a surge of feeling deep in his heart before he could create a poem. This view, complementing the concept of “poetry expressing aspirations,” stresses the lyrical and aesthetic nature of literary works and echoes the evolution of literary tastes during the Wei and Jin dynasties. “Poetry springing from emotions” represents another viewpoint on the nature of poetry and literature in ancient China.

引例 Citations:



Poetry, springing from emotions, reads beautifully in its form of expression. (Lu Ji: The Art of Writing)



Everyone has diverse feelings, and he expresses his feelings and aspirations in a poetical way when he is stimulated by the external world and his heart is touched. All poems come from natural emotions. (Liu Xie: Carving a Dragon at the Core of Literature)v

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