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Traveling sayings as carriers of philosophical debate: From the intertextuality of the * Yucong 語叢 to the dynamics of cultural memory and authorship in Early China


Krijgsman, Rens (2014). Traveling sayings as carriers of philosophical debate: From the intertextuality of the * Yucong 語叢 to the dynamics of cultural memory and authorship in Early China. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 68(1):83-115.

Abstract

This article presents an analysis and a typology of traveling sayings commonly encountered in Early Chinese texts. Building on examples from both excavated and transmitted texts, and focusing on the Guodian *Yucong 1–3 in particular, it argues that some of these sayings travel from text to text because they were more likely to be remembered and transmitted than others. Much like the Wanderanekdote and lines from the Odes, these traveling sayings appear in alternated form across a variety of early texts. They were remembered because they provide a brief, highly structured and esthetically pleasing expression of an important philosophical problem. As a common resource in the cultural memory of Early China, traveling sayings were adapted to meet different argumentative agendas and tapped into a wide network of remembered, intertextual, associations to imbue them with meaning. I argue that the different ways in which these sayings were integrated into arguments, either through adaptation or by using definitions, reveal differences in interpretive strategy and changes in the mode in which early authors engaged with cultural memory. The paper concludes with implications for the study of early collections and the conceptualization of authorship and audience in Early China.

Abstract

This article presents an analysis and a typology of traveling sayings commonly encountered in Early Chinese texts. Building on examples from both excavated and transmitted texts, and focusing on the Guodian *Yucong 1–3 in particular, it argues that some of these sayings travel from text to text because they were more likely to be remembered and transmitted than others. Much like the Wanderanekdote and lines from the Odes, these traveling sayings appear in alternated form across a variety of early texts. They were remembered because they provide a brief, highly structured and esthetically pleasing expression of an important philosophical problem. As a common resource in the cultural memory of Early China, traveling sayings were adapted to meet different argumentative agendas and tapped into a wide network of remembered, intertextual, associations to imbue them with meaning. I argue that the different ways in which these sayings were integrated into arguments, either through adaptation or by using definitions, reveal differences in interpretive strategy and changes in the mode in which early authors engaged with cultural memory. The paper concludes with implications for the study of early collections and the conceptualization of authorship and audience in Early China.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 68 (2014) > 1
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:03 Oct 2014 11:37
Last Modified:07 Apr 2020 06:46
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:0004-4717
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2014-0006

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