文学 – Chinese philosophy and culture

wénxué 文学

Literature

原义为博通前代文献,“文”指文献,“学”是关于文献的学问。后泛指文章、文献以及关于文章、文献的各种知识与学问。主要含义有三:其一,先秦两汉时期,指关于古代文献特别是诗书礼乐、典章制度等人文方面的知识与学问。魏晋南北朝以后,“文学”一词大体与今天的文学概念接近,但也包含人文学术的内容。近代以来,西方的文学观念传入中国,“文学”一词逐步演变指用语言创造审美形象的一门艺术,但传统意义上的“文学”范畴仍为章太炎等少数学者沿用。这一术语的最初含义决定中国现当代主流的文学观念仍坚持从大文化的意义上看待文学现象,强调文学的审美价值与人文学术的内在联系,而与西方的“文学”术语强调文学之独立审美价值有所区别。其二,泛指古代各类文章及文献。其三,指以著书立说、教学等方式传播学问的文人与掌管文教的官员。

Originally, the term meant to command a good knowledge of documents from pervious dynasties. Wen (文) referred to documents, and xue (学) referred to the study of these documents. Later, the term referred to articles and documents in general as well as the knowledge about those documentations. The term had three main meanings. Firstly, from the pre-Qin period to the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, it meant knowledge of ancient literature, especially that of humanities including poetry, history, rites and music, as well as works of laws and regulations. Starting from the Wei and Jin dynasties, the term basically became equivalent to today’s concept of literature, but it also referred to academic writings on humanities. With the introduction of the Western concept of literature in recent history, the term gradually evolved to mean a pursuit that uses language to create aesthetic images. However, a few scholars, such as Zhang Taiyan, stuck to its traditional definition. The original meaning of the term determined the mainstream view on literature in contemporary China, which focuses on examining a literary phenomenon in the broader cultural context and emphasizing the intrinsic relationship between the aesthetic values of literature and liberal arts. This is somewhat different from the Western notion of literature which highlights the independent nature of literary appreciation. Secondly, the term refers broadly to various kinds of articles and documents in ancient times. Thirdly, it refers to scholars who promote learning through writing and teaching, as well as officials in charge of culture and education.

引例 Citations:

◎文学:子游、子夏。(《论语·先进》)

([弟子中]博学与熟悉古代文献的,是子游和子夏。)

Among the disciples of Confucius, Ziyou and Zixia have a good knowledge of ancient literature. (The Analects)

◎于是汉兴,萧何次律令,韩信申军法,张苍为章程,叔孙通定礼仪,则文学彬彬稍进,《诗》《书》往往间出矣。(《史记·太史公自序》)

(这时汉朝兴起,萧何编订法律,韩信申明军法,张苍订立历数和度量衡推算法式,叔孙通确定礼仪,而后文章与学问出众的人才逐渐进入朝廷,失传的《诗经》《尚书》等典籍也不断被发现。)

At that time, the Han Dynasty was on the rise, with Xiao He codifying laws, Han Xin promulgating military rules, Zhang Cang formulating the calendar and measurements, and Shusun Tong establishing ceremonial rites. Soon, literary talent who excelled in writing and learning took up positions in the imperial court. Lost classics such as The Book of Songs and The Book of History were rediscovered one after another. (Records of the Historian)

◎大抵儒学本《礼》,荀子是也;史学本《书》与《春秋》,马迁是也;玄学本《易》,庄子是也;文学本《诗》,屈原是也。(刘熙载《艺概·文概》)

(大致来说,儒学以《礼》为依据,荀子即是这样;史学以《尚书》和《春秋》为典范,司马迁即是这样;玄学以《周易》为根基,庄子即是这样;文学以《诗经》为本源,屈原即是这样。)

Generally speaking, Confucian studies are based on The Book of Rites, as exemplified by Xunzi. Historiography is modeled on The Book of History and The Spring and Autumn Annals, as exemplified by Sima Qian. Metaphysical studies are based on The Book of Changes, as exemplified by Zhuangzi. Literature has its root in The Book of Songs, as exemplified by Qu Yuan. (Liu Xizai: Overview of Literary Theories)

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