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A Study of Li Zhi’s view of Literature

  • The Journal of Study on Language and Culture of Korea and China
  • Abbr : JSLCKC
  • 2010, (22), pp.164-185
  • DOI : 10.16874/jslckc.2010..22.010
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Study on Chinese Languge and Culture
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Published : February 28, 2010

Byeong-Hak Choi 1

1금강대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to recognize Li Zhi(李贄)’s perspective on literature as represented in his works. Li Zhi asserts that literary expressions must come from naturalness based on neutralness, the most cherished value in the orthodox literary aesthetics. This paper posits that his approach on literature is based on “the natural humanity theory(自然人性論)”, “the nature of his ‘child’s heart’ theory (童心說)” and has played a leading role in creating a literary mood prizing personality and identity in the late Ming Dynasty(晩明). Li Zhi departs from the traditional concept of Dao(道) as a heavenly mission and interprets it as an active aspect of human nature. He also argues that human nature, not ethics nor conventional norms, must be the basis of ideologies and tries to make material needs of humans a legitimate part of his new literary concept. His new concept of literary led to different aesthetic criteria in literature focusing more on value judgement and brought the nature of ‘beauty’ from the world reasoning to reality. By making everyday language a part of literature, his works deal with a wider variety of themes and began to have much easier access to the general public. But due to the limitations of the times, it seems that he could not distinguish the literary from the non literary or other ethical texts. Discussions on Li Zhi’s literary views require more thoughtful judgement before reaching any conclusions. Further research with more data and more exhaustive reviews will provide a better answer.

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