发乎情,止乎礼义 – Chinese philosophy and culture

fā hū qíng, zhǐ hū lǐyì 发乎情,止乎礼义

Start with Feelings and Control with Propriety

诗歌由情感生发,但是情感的抒发不能超过限度,应该用礼义去节制。其目的是达到委婉讽谏的效果。“发乎情,止乎礼义”由最初批评《诗经》的理论发展成为普遍的文学创作原则,既承认人的本能欲望以及抒发描写本能欲望的需要,同时又强调要用儒家的道德规范来约束指导,不能流于纯自然的宣泄,不能超越社会政治、伦理的规范。因此,诗歌中所表达的情感,既具有个体性,又具有社会性。

Poems and lyrics arise from genuine feelings, which, however, should not be excessive but be controlled by ritual propriety and righteousness, so as to be tactfully persuasive. This term was first used when commenting on The Book of Songs and then developed into a guiding principle for literary creation in general. It not only acknowledges people’s instinctive desires and the need to express and describe such desires, but also emphasizes that Confucian ethics should be employed to contain and guide feelings, which should neither be improperly vented nor transgress the boundaries of society, politics and ethics. Thus, feelings expressed via poetry are both individual and social.

引例 Citations:

◎国史明乎得失之迹,伤人伦之废,哀刑政之苛,吟咏情性,以风其上。达于事变而怀其旧俗者也。故变风发乎情,止乎礼义。发乎情,民之性也;止乎礼义,先王之泽也。(《毛诗序》)

(周代的史官知道政治得失的轨迹,感伤人伦关系的废弛,哀叹刑法施政的严苛,吟唱歌咏自己的情思感受,为的是讽喻人君。这是通晓世事变化而怀念旧时风俗以规谏执政者的缘故。所以“变风”发自内心情感,但不超过礼义规定的限度。发自内心情感,这是出于民众的天性;不超过礼义规定的限度,这是先王教化留下的恩泽。)

Official historians of the Zhou Dynasty were aware of lessons concerning political gain and loss, lamented the abandonment of codes governing human relations, bemoaned the harsh enforcing of laws and government, and sang or chanted to express their feelings and emotions, in order to admonish the monarch. They knew well the vicissitudes of worldly affairs and were nostalgic for bygone customs. “A variation in poetic style” is expressive of poets’ inner feelings and, for that matter, an articulation of common folk’s natural inclination, but such expression should be kept within the confines of propriety and justice, a good heritage left by the late kings. (Preface to Mao’s Version of The Book of Songs)

◎不发乎情,即非礼义,故诗要有乐有哀;发乎情,未必即礼义,故诗要哀乐中节。(刘熙载《艺概·诗概》)

(不从情感中生发的,自然不会合乎礼义,所以诗歌中有快乐也有哀伤;从情感中生发的,也不一定就合乎礼义,所以诗歌的哀伤、快乐都要符合礼义规定的限度。)

Not to express feelings and emotions naturally does not conform to propriety and righteousness, so there should be joy and sorrow in poems. Feelings and emotions expressed not necessarily conform to propriety and righteousness, and thus sorrow and joy in poems should be kept within the confines of propriety and righteousness. (Liu Xizai: Overview of Literary Theories)

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