不涉理路,不落言筌 – Chinese philosophy and culture

bù shè lǐlù, bù luò yánquán 不涉理路,不落言筌

Dispense with Theory and Logic; Take Care Not to Fall into Traps of Language

不关涉论理和逻辑,不落入语言的束缚。筌是竹制的一种捕鱼器,比喻束缚、拘碍,“言筌”即指语言文字的束缚。这是宋代严羽在《沧浪诗话》中所提出的有关诗歌学习及创作的要求。这一术语相当于对“妙悟”的解释,诗歌有独特的思维方式和审美要求,它的本质是吟咏情性,注重当下即是的感觉,而不是阐发义理、卖弄学问。学习诗歌,也要避免受到论理和语言文字的束缚。

Poets should not concern themselves with theory, logic or any other convention in the use of language. Quan (筌), originally a bamboo fish-catching device, later was used as a metaphor for any form of linguistic constraint on poetic creation. The term “language trap” was first put forward by the Song Dynasty poetry theorist Yan Yu in his Canglang’s Criticism on Poetry, a work on poetry learning and creation. It can be likened to the idea of “subtle insight.” Poetry writing has its distinct ways of thinking and aesthetic requirements. Essentially, it should express the poet’s emotions and mood, and emphasize momentary feeling, rather than expound on theories or show off one’s learning. Poetry learners should also avoid being shackled by theories or conventions in language use.

引例 Citations:

◎夫诗有别材,非关书也;诗有别趣,非关理也。然非多读书,多穷理,则不能极其至。所谓不涉理路、不落言筌者,上也。(严羽《沧浪诗话·诗辨》)

(诗歌有特殊的题材,跟书本知识没有关系;诗歌有特别的旨趣,跟论理没有关系。然而不多读书,不多穷究义理,就不能达到极致。只有不关涉论理逻辑、不落入文字束缚的诗,才是上乘的诗。)

Poetry has its distinct subject matter and is not about book learning. It also has its distinct artistic taste and does not bother to dwell on theories. However, if poets do not read widely and pursue reason exhaustively, their poems can never reach perfection. Poetry of the highest class is not restricted by theory, logic or convention. (Yan Yu: Canglang’s Criticism on Poetry)

◎荃者所以在鱼,得鱼而忘荃。蹄者所以在兔,得兔而忘蹄。言者所以在意,得意而忘言。(《庄子·外物》)

(竹筌是用来捕鱼的,得到鱼就忘记了筌。兔网是用来捉兔子的,得到兔子就忘记了网。语言是用来表达意义的,得到意义就忘记了语言。)

The bamboo fish trap is used to catch fish, but the trap will be forgotten once the fish is caught. The rabbit net is used to catch rabbits, but the net will be forgotten once the rabbit is caught. Words are used to convey meaning, so we should forget the words once we have grasped the meaning. (Zhuangzi)

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