含蓄 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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hánxù 含蓄

Subtle Suggestion

文艺作品的一种创作技巧与风格,用简约的语言和浅近的艺术形象委婉表达出丰富深远的情感意蕴,使欣赏者能从中获得回味无穷的美感。中国古代的文学艺术作品中既有直率真实的表现方式,亦有含蓄蕴藉的表达手法。含蓄这一术语源于诗歌的讽谏传统及道家思想,主张作品的情感、意蕴应当内敛,外在形象的描写要借助充实的内在意蕴而感染读者,形成言近旨远、意在言外的审美效果。唐代司空图将其列为二十四种诗歌风格之一。含蓄是作家修养、创作技巧与文学作品的风格和境界的高度统一。

A technique or style in creating literary works, it refers to the use of concise language in portraying a simple artistic image, whose rich feelings and implications are elicited in a subtle manner, so that readers can intuit multiple hidden meanings. One finds a straightforward and factual manner of expression in early literary and artistic works in China, as well as the subtle mode of expression. Because this technique originally evolved from Daoist thought and, in the early period, was employed as a means of criticizing powerful individuals in poetry, it stresses the expression of emotion in a subtly suggestive manner, such that the depiction of images should be supported by a rich undertone or hidden meaning that can appeal to readers. The language should be simple and plain but still leave sufficient room for readers to seize upon hidden meanings. Sikong Tu, a literary critic in the Tang Dynasty, listed it as one of the twenty-four styles of poetry writing. Subtle suggestion imparts a high degree of unity to a writer’s cultural attainments, creative technique, as well as his literary style and imagery.

引例 Citations:

◎不着一字,尽得风流。语不涉己,若不堪忧。是有真宰,与之沉浮。(司空图《二十四诗品·含蓄》)

(虽然没有写上一字,却尽得其意蕴之美妙。文辞虽没有直接抒写自己的忧伤,读时却使人好像忧伤不已。这是因为事物有着真实自然的情理,在与作品一起或沉或浮。)

Without penning down a word about it, yet it is overfilled with what it intends to express. Without mentioning the writer’s own sorrow, yet one can feel it there. It is because the genuine and natural feelings reside there, that one’s mood rises and falls with the work that conveys them. (Sikong Tu: Twenty-four Styles of Poetry)

◎语贵含蓄。东坡云:“言有尽而意无穷者,天下之至言也。”(姜夔《白石道人诗说》)

(语言表达以含蓄为贵。苏东坡说:“用有限的文辞表达无穷的意义,这是天下公认的至理名言啊。”)

The merit of expressing oneself lies in presenting one’s opinions with subtlety. Su Dongpo once said, “There is a limit to the words one can use in writing a poem, but there is no limit to the meaning a poem may deliver. This is universally acknowledged.” (Jiang Kui: The Poetry Theory of Baishi Daoren)

◎含蓄无穷,词之要诀。含蓄者,意不浅露,语不穷尽,句中有余味,篇中有余意,其妙不外寄言而已。(沈祥龙《论词随笔》)

(有着无限的蕴含是作词的要诀。含蓄就是意蕴不要简单肤浅,用词不要将意蕴全都说完,句子要给人留有回味的余地,整部作品有让人进一步思考的空间,其精妙之处不外就是在有限的词句上寄寓无限的意蕴而已。)

The key to writing great ci lyrics is the subtle suggestion of limitless meaning. Subtle suggestion means that the meaning is never simply obvious, yet the words will forever echo in one’s mind. A line should leave enough room for further thought, and a poem enough meaning for readers to ponder. The beauty of this method lies in expressing unlimited subtle meaning in simple language. (Shen Xianglong: Essays on Ci Poetry)

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