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On Liu Zongyuan s aesthetic thoughts

Author: MaCao
Tutor: ZhouJunPing
School: Shandong Normal University
Course: Aesthetics
Keywords: Liu Zongyuan Aesthetic thought Wen Tao theory Literary function theory Shenzhitheory Odd flavor theory Guanyou theory
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Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2014
Downloads: 7
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Abstract


Liu Zongyuan is a famous writer, thinker and politician of Tang Dynasty. He hadoutstanding achievements in literature, philosophy, politics and some other fields. Liu is also animportant esthetician in the Middle Tang period, who has his unique system of thoughts.However, compared with literature, philosophy and political ideology, Liu’s aesthetic thought didnot attract much attention in the academic subject. For the lack of academic study in a deeplyand wholly way, the value and status of Liu’s aesthetics had not got a reasonable and pertinentassessment so far, which affects the comprehensive and accurate understanding and evaluation ofLiu to a certain extent. Therefore, the study of Liu’s aesthetics has incredible room to improvingand great potential to be tapped in the academic aspects, which will also be of positivesignificance and great value. This paper is divided into five parts:The first part introduces the multiple bases of Liu Zongyuan’s aesthetic thought. Thischapter mainly discusses the foundation of Liu’s aesthetic thought from three aspects. First, thepaper analyzes the times background, and briefly introduces the social and cultural background.Second, the author analyzes the formation of Liu’s aesthetic thought, mainly from his personallife experiences and the impacts on his aesthetics. Third, the author explores the origins of Liu’saesthetic thought, and analyzes these complex origins, from which we can obviously see theinfluences of the Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Zhuzi thoughts.The second part introduces the basic content of Liu’s aesthetic thought. This chapterdiscusses five aspects of Liu’s aesthetics: Wen Tao theory, Literary function theory, Shenzhitheory, Odd flavor theory and Guanyou theory. The first one is Wen Tao theory. Its main point is:literature is used to explain the Tao. Liu believes that Tao is the core, and is relied upon byscholars with the ultimate goal of all their activities and behavior. He believes that Tao is to assistsociety and solve social problems. The basic characteristic of Tao is the face of reality. Hemaintains that the inherent similarities exist between aesthetic and Tao. Tao itself containsaesthetic. The process of pursuit and realization of Tao will include aesthetic components. Liuhas a unique understanding on the literary. Liu divides the literature’s styles into two differentkinds, and analyzes their respective characteristics. He treats literary with a precise attitude. Hepursues literary talent on one hand, and on the other hand he opposes the excessive pursuit ofliterary talent. On the relationship between literary and Tao, he advocates that literature is used toexplain Tao and Tao is the noumenon of literature. He made three basic judgments on therelationship between literary and Tao. He believes that literature can only expound the theory,but can not achieve Tao. The second is the function of literature theory. The key idea is: praiseand satire. Liu emphasizes the social function of literature, and maintains that the function ofliterature is to praise and satire. He distinguishes literature function and social function, andemphasizes aesthetic the characteristics of the literature function. He also pays attention to thedifferent functions and the approaches of these functions between different literary genres. At thesame time, Liu notes that the non utilitarian aesthetic elements, and affirms that literature is toexpress self disposition. He recognizes the entertaining function of literature, and thus promotestheory of Youxi. The third one is Shenzhi theory. Its main idea is: literature is created by Shenzhi.In the aesthetic attitude area, Liu opposes to praise the ancient literary and despise the modernones. He advocates scholars should have a precise attitude, be patient and be aware of thedifficulty during the literary creation. And he insists that the four unhealthy mentality and theirharms have to be overcame during the creation. In the aesthetic, Liu agrees that the secureenvironment is a prerequisite for aesthetic activities. He maintains the theory of Ganji Fenfei,and agrees that this is the motivation of aesthetic. On the aesthetic creation, he proposes thetheory of Zhuoran Zide. He believes that authors should have excellent mental qualities, and begood at grasping the inner mind, and have excellent writing skills. Fourth is an Odd taste theory.Its key idea is: to make the entire odd flavor meet the mouth. Liu uses taste to comment on literary and advocates the theory of odd taste. He maintains that literature should be like the tasteof the food. The diverse styles are required to meet the aesthetic needs of the people. Headvocates the diversification of aesthetic style and encourages the innovation, but he opposes toostrange ones. Among the numerous aesthetic styles, Liu advocates the ideal style--magnificent.He thinks this style reflects the desire of the country’s prosperity. The fifth one is the concept ofGuanyou theory. Its main idea is: to realize the beauty of nature. This theory deepens theconnection between nature and ego, which makes the nature to became the symbol of survival.He divides the aesthetic objects into Kuangjing and Aojing, and then describes their aestheticcharacteristics. On the aesthetic experience aspect, he proposes Simou theory, depicting thedifferent levels of aesthetic experience about the nature. In the aesthetic realm, he thinks that thenature of aesthetic is a kind of freedom and harmony between human and nature in a harmoniousenvironment.The third part of this paper is the characteristics and status of Liu’s aesthetic thought. Thischapter mainly discusses the general characteristics and historical status of Liu’s aestheticthought. The first section discusses the overall features of Liu’s aesthetic thought, and points outthat the three most important features. The second section is about the historical position of Liu’saesthetics thought. We think that it is an important pole in the Middle Tang aesthetic. Then theauthor makes a comparison between Liu and Han Yu and Bai Juyi about their aesthetic thoughts,and thus points out the unique value and historical status of Liu’s aesthetics.The fourth part mainly discusses the contribution, effect and deficiency of Liu’s aestheticthought. This chapter focuses on three aspects of Liu’s aesthetic thought. Firstly, the authormainly explores the contribution and value of Liu’s aesthetic though from ancient prosemovement and natural aesthetics in the Tang Dynasty. Secondly, the paper discusses theinfluence of Liu’s aesthetic thought, and analyzes the characteristics of the acception in differentages. Thirdly, the paper analyzes the shortcomings of Liu’s aesthetic thought. There are threeaspects of vulnerability: the defects of its own theory system; no pioneering spirit, and he did notmake any breakthrough about his theory system; the embarrassing situation of being at the edgeof the age.The last part is the conclusion and appendix. The author reviews and assesses Liu’s aestheticthought wholly, and points out the value and significance of the study of Liu’s aesthetics. Theappendix is the textual research that "The real author of the travel notes of Yong Zhou MatuiMountain". The paper overthrows the traditional view that Liu is the author of this article byparticular research, and concludes that Duguji is the real author.

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