夺胎换骨 – Chinese philosophy and culture

duó tāi huàn ɡǔ 夺胎换骨

Replace the Flesh and Bones of a Human Being with Those of an Immortal / Express the Ideas in Earlier Literary Works in a New Way

原意为脱去凡胎俗骨而换为圣胎仙骨,后比喻在诗文创作中援用前人作品的意思但能用自己的语言另立新意的一种技法。强调师法前人而不露痕迹并能有所创新。在诗歌创作中主要通过换字、换意凸显主旨、生成新意、造就佳句。“夺胎”是发现前人作品中具有某种意味,而予以阐扬、深化、拓展,乃至生成新意。“换骨”是发现前人作品中具有某种高妙的思想、情意但表现不够充分,而用更为恰切的语言予以重新表现,使之更完善、更鲜明。这一技巧体现文艺创作的传承、流变关系,在作品中可以看到很多具体运用的实例。文化学术的继承和发展也可以借鉴这一策略。

This term, which figuratively means to replace the flesh and bones of an ordinary human being with those of an immortal, is used to describe a literary technique in which a writer uses his own words to express new ideas while quoting those from earlier works. The emphasis is on borrowing from the past without showing any traces, yet forming something new in the process. In poetry, this is achieved primarily by substituting words and ideas to highlight a theme, thus creating a beautiful new phrase. Duotai (夺胎) is to identify an idea in an existing work and to imbue it with new meaning by expounding, deepening or broadening it. Huangu (换骨) is to identify a brilliant idea or feeling in an earlier work which is insufficiently expressed, and to give it greater refinement and clarity by expressing it with a more appropriate choice of words. This technique exemplifies how literature both perpetuates and yet changes tradition. Cultural scholarship can also borrow from this method to build on the past and to further develop.

引例 Citations:

◎然不易其意而造其语,谓之换骨法;窥入其意而形容之,谓之夺胎法。(释惠洪《冷斋夜话》卷一)

(然而不改变前人的意思而换用更恰切的词句,叫做换骨法;从前人作品中领悟到作者的某个意旨而予以深化和充分发挥,叫做夺胎法。)

Huangu is to use more appropriate words without changing the meaning of earlier writers; Duotai is to comprehend a certain meaning of an author and then deepen it and express it more fully. (Shi Huihong: Evening Talks at Lengzhai)

◎文章虽不要蹈袭古人一言一句,然古人自有夺胎换骨等法,所谓灵丹一粒点铁成金也。(陈善《扪虱新语》卷二)

(文章虽然不应该袭用前人的一字一句,但前人自有一种夺胎换骨的方法,就好像用一粒灵丹来点铁成金[从而创造出更完美的作品]一样。)

Though not copying earlier writings word from word, the ancients had a way of “replacing the flesh and bones” which, like a magic pill turning iron into gold, brings forward even better works. (Chen Shan: Daring Remarks on Literature)

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