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On the Theories of Ancient Chinese Commentary of Narrative Texts

Author: ZhangShuGuang
Tutor: XiaZhiFang
School: Shandong Normal University
Course: Literature and Art
Keywords: Commentary of narrative texts Interpretation of texts Fusion of horizon Aesthetic reading Aesthetic freedom
CLC: I206.2
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 459
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By reference to the contemporary academic theories such as hermeneutics, narrative theories, text theories and so on, this dissertation makes a deep research into the ancient commentary of narrative texts in order to explore commentators’thoughts essence from seemingly scattered commentary, and make it clear and systematic. In view of the large quantity and wide range of narrative commentary and the limitation of research time, this dissertation research into the commentary of narrative texts, with Jin Shengtan’s commentary of narrative texts as center, and links with other commentators on the related theories.As for the object of commentary, the narrative texts are usually called wen, including fiction, drama,historical and biography texts and so on. According to contemporary views, comments are based on the commentators’aesthetic and literary standards, thus the dissertation also discusses commentary of narrative texts from the angle of literature.The dissertation, with theory of narrative text as center, has four dimensions: the text’s composition, the aesthetic boundary of text, the concept of text and its different levels, text understanding and reading.Chapter one studies the cultural tradition of the rise of the literary comments, and reveals the developments of its characteristics and inner spirits. The literary comments took its rise in annotation of Confucian classics, Anthology theory and article study and gradually formed its specific exterior characteristics. With the evolvement of the literary and ideological concept in different eras, the narrative commentary had formed its horizon of literature and ideology, and broke a new path different from Confucian classics’hermeneutics.Chapter Two reviews literary consciousness of critics. In their opinion, geniuses compose texts in their aesthetic and free mentality. The concept of writing for entertainment in their commentary means aesthetic freedom. Critics probe into the essential features of text from the angle of literary mind and emphasize the role of literary mind in composing text, but the text is not always controlled by literary mind. It has its inner vital force, and even the writer cannot but comply with text’s request, so a marvelous text would be finished in genius’unconsciousness. In fact, this phenomena means genius is in his peak of aesthetic experience.The third chapter discusses about the aesthetic boundary of narrative text. In the post-modern context of historical narration, Jin Shengtan’s literary discourse in commentary of the historical biography has been discussed. He emphasizes the importance of literary technique in the historical narration, and literati’s subjective spirit which evaluates history and reveals the law of its development with the aid of narrative texts. From the relations of fiction and reality,this chapter comments on the views of different critics and points out the essence in Jinshengtan’s views of fiction, i.e. The world of text tends to indicate the prospects of life world. Based on formal criticism and hermeneutics,this part reveals his tendency of seeking for aesthetic forms, and analyses his self-contradiction between forms and contents.The forth chapter represents the concept of text in commentary, and remarks the commentary in different levels of text. From the perspective of family resemblance, the commentators generalize the basic characteristics of narrative texts, and Jin Shengtan’s distinction between narrative discourses and stories marks a new height which he has reached in the understanding of the concept of narrative texts. Critics’comments on multiple implication of language, the generation of meaning, the relation between language and meaning, the ironic effects and dialogue characteristics of language show their profound understanding of narrative language’s art features. As far as narrative structure is concerned, this part mainly explains critics’opinions about how to organize narrative structure. Critics tend to analyze structure from different angles. From inner spirit, the consideration of Tian-tao and Ren-tao is as often as not the inner philosophic basis for writers to organize narrative structure. From the overall structure, they reveal that structure is unitary and vital. From the micro-level, the operation of the inner structure is showed in partition of minimal narrative units and organization of narrative sequences. The flexible technique in organizing structure displays its significance in the forms. As for the meaning of narrative text, this chapter reveals its aesthetic meaning mainly from three angles such as the literary technique which emphasizes the aesthetic forms, image which stresses the visual world, and Subtle Expression, the hidden meaning behind seemingly simple description.According to philosophy hermeneutics, Chapter Five has a deep research into the interpretation of texts in commentary. From the relations of author-text-reader, this part studies commentators’hermeneutic thoughts of texts. The consciousness of bosom friend of inquiring about the author’s intention presents the commentator’s good will of seeking for understanding. The fusion of the ancient and modern in commentary means that the substance of text interpretation is to lead text meaning to real life of readers and to extend to future. Texts have a great effect on commentators, and meanwhile exist and become classical in the interpretation of commentators. The meaning interpretation in commentary is also a self-understanding activity, and their penetrating judgment can always inspire readers to understand and reflect the meaning of life and reality.Chapter Six discusses the aesthetic reading activities in commentary in the light of contemporary reading theory. The emphasis on reading in commentary shows that an aesthetic relation between reader and text is established, namely, reading is an activity of aesthetic interpretation, and the aesthetic significance of text is generated in reader’s three processes of interpretation: linguistic interpretation, inter-text interpretation and psychological interpretation. Reading is a process of aesthetic experience which commentators describe from reading expectation to responsive chord, and commentators reveal the significance of aesthetic reading in upgrading readers’experience and promoting realm of life.In general, based on contemporary academic achievements of research, this dissertation deeply discusses the ancient narrative texts of Jin Shengtan as a center, and draws a rough frame of theories implicated in a word or two of commentators. The dissertation not only penetrates the width and depth of commentary, but also expects it to emerge into the contemporary academic horizon, for a communication, fusion and dialogue between the ancient and contemporary, and to refresh itself with vigor of life.

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CLC: > Literature > Chinese Literature > Literature Review and Research > Ancient literature (~ 1840 )
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