审虚实 – Chinese philosophy and culture

shěn xūshí 审虚实

Balance Fiction and Reality

戏曲创作必须把握好人物、故事情节的虚构与真实的关系。由明末清初曲论家李渔(1611—1680)在《闲情偶寄》中提出。李渔认为,戏曲所用素材,有古代的,有当今的,有据耳目传闻虚构,有据真人真事改编,大多跟寓言故事一样,能承载一定的教化功能即可,不必实有其人其事。尽管如此,作者在创作传奇戏剧的时候,仍然要把握好虚实的度,使传奇中的人物和情节发展合乎人情事理。“审虚实”认可艺术虚构的合理性与必要性,以合乎人情事理为艺术真实的判断标准,强调艺术真实不同于现实真实,这是对于文学创作规律的合理认识。

This term was first used by the late Ming and early Qing drama theorist Li Yu (1611-1680) in his Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions. It means that in dramatic creation, one should maintain a good balance between fiction and non-fiction in characterization and plot development. According to Li, material for dramatic creation could be ancient or current, could be based on what one heard from others or what actually happened. A piece of dramatic creation was just like a fable. As long as it had a good message to convey, whether its plot was real or not did not matter much. Nonetheless, a writer of legendary drama should strike a balance between reality and fiction, suiting characterization and plot development to people’s natural way of thinking. The effort to balance fiction and reality acknowledges the need of artistic creation, taking reason and human feelings as the criterion judging artistic reality; and it highlights the difference between artistic reality and mundane reality. This view represents a proper understanding of laws governing literary creation.

引例 Citations:

◎传奇所用之事,或古或今,有虚有实,随人拈取。……传奇无实,大半皆寓言耳。欲劝人为孝,则举一孝子出名,但有一行可纪,则不必尽有其事。(李渔《闲情偶寄·词曲部》)

(创作传奇所用的题材,有些是古代的,有些是当今的,有些是虚构的,有些是真实的,是否取用取决于创作者的需要。……传奇一般都不是实有其事,大多数像寓言。如果像要勉励世人孝敬父母,就找一个孝子作为传奇的名字,只要有一项德行值得记述,就不必要求真有这样的事情。)

Material used for writing a legendary drama may be either old or new and can be both fictitious and based on reality. The writer selects whatever material that meets his need… A legendary drama tends to be fictitious, just like fables. If you want to urge people to be filial to their parents, you can then use the name of a filial son for the play. If a virtuous deed deserves to be told, there is no need for it to have actually happened. (Li Yu: Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions)

◎凡为小说及杂剧戏文,须是虚实相半,方为游戏三昧之笔,亦要情景造极而止,不必问其有无也。(谢肇淛《五杂组》卷十五)

(凡是写小说和杂剧戏文的,应该是虚实各半,才是得写作真谛的笔法,情与景的描写也要达到极致才停笔,而不必问这情景实际上有没有。)

A writer of fiction or drama needs to strike a balance between reality and imagination. Then his writing will be engaging and unrestrained. He should give full rein to emotions and plot development in his descriptions; whether they are true or not is not really important. (Xie Zhaozhe: An Orderly Narration on Five Assorted Offerings)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *