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In Search of the Generic Identity of Ci Poetry
Stockholms universitet.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of  this dissertation is to create a coherent and systematic description of the ci genre through discussing a large number of characteristics attributed to it in some well-known theories and studies from the Song dynasty up to our day. Some major issues of debate concerning the ci genre are discussed and certain traditional research methods and research attitudes among mainland Chinese scholars are questioned. I chapter 1, the origins of the genre are discussed as well as problems concerning the definition of ci. In the following chapters several features and aspects of the genre are described and discussed: in chapter 2, the genre’s relationship to the Party-music , i chapter 3, formal and linguistic features and the relationship to Recent-style verse, and finally in chapter 4, some thematic and aesthetic aspects and the division into styles and schools. The author seeks to find a broad definition of ci that allows for the incorporation of ci from different periods, by different groups of authors, written in different styles, during the approximately 1000 years of development of the genre.

The author’s conclusion is that the ci genre can be divided into three major development stages based on the genre’s function: as song lyrics (the early popular ci), as song lyrics and poetry ( literati ci of the Tang, Five dynasties and the Song dynasty) and finally, as poetry (literati ci after the Song). During these three stages the genre’s relationship to music has changed, resulting in a change of function. During the second and crucial stage, ci had a dual function, as song lyrics and poetry at the same time. resulting in requirements of both what the author calls “song lyric properties” and “poetry properties”. Based on the understanding of the second stage, the ci genre as a whole may be seen as a conglomerate of “song lyric properties” and “poetry properties”. During these three stages two major groups of authors have been active “common people” and “literati poets”, using somewhat different language and style. During the second and crucial stage of the genre’s development these two styles merged. As a result the dominant style in the ci genre as a whole may be seen as a fusion of literati and popular style. The author emphasizes the importance of the relationship of ci with music. Although it received several traits from Recent-style verse, the ci genre also deviates from that form, and constitutes a genre of its own kind.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholms universitet , 1998. , 303 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121680ISBN: 91-7153-729-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121680DiVA: diva2:306123
Public defence
1998-04-16, Aulan, Kräftriket, Stockholms universitet, Roslagsv. 101, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

2 vol.

Available from: 2010-11-09 Created: 2010-03-26 Last updated: 2016-04-29Bibliographically approved

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