性灵 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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xìnglíng 性灵

Xingling (Inner Self)

本指相对于客观外物的人的心灵世界,包括性情、才智两个方面。南北朝时期,“性灵”成为文学创作与文学批评术语,主要指与社会伦理、政治教化与传统创作观念相对的个体的精神才智与性情气质,强调文艺应该发自并表现人的性灵。明清时期,随着个性伸张与思想解放,袁宏道、袁枚等著名文士用“性灵”倡导文学应该直抒胸臆,表现内心真实的思想情感、兴趣见解,强调创作中的精神个性和艺术个性,反对宋明理学、传统创作观念以及复古思潮对于人性与文学的束缚,并因此成为文学创作上的一个重要流派。

The term refers to an individual’s inner mind vis-à-vis the outside world, which consists of two aspects, namely, temperament and talent. During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, xingling (inner self) became widely used in literary writing and criticism. It refers to the combination of a writer’s temperament and talent, other than his social ethics, political beliefs, and literary traditions; and it stresses that literature is inspired by traits of individuality and should give expression to them. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, along with the trend of giving free rein to individuality and shaking off intellectual straitjacket, renowned scholars such as Yuan Hongdao and Yuan Mei advocated giving full expression to one’s inner self, namely, one’s thoughts, sentiment, emotion and views. They underscored the role of intellectual and artistic individuality in literary creation as opposed to the rigid School of Principle of the earlier Song and Ming dynasties, literary dogma and blind belief in classicism which constrained people from expressing human nature and inhabited literary creativity. The Xingling School thus became an important school in literary creation.

引例 Citations:

◎惟人参之,性灵所钟,是谓三才。为五行之秀,实天地之心。心生而言立,言立而文明,自然之道也。(刘勰《文心雕龙·原道》)

(只有人身上钟聚了性情才智,可以与天地并称为“三才”。人是天地万物中最杰出的种类,实际是天地的核心与灵魂。心灵活动产生语言,语言表达出来就形成文章,这是自然规律。)

Temperament and talent are found only in man, constituting his inner self. One of the three essential forms of existence along with heaven and earth, man stands out among all species and is the essence and soul of the world. In the natural course of events, the need to express man’s inner self leads to the emergence of language, which in turn gives rise to literary creation. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎(吾弟小修所作之诗)大都独抒性灵,不拘格套,非从自己胸臆流出,不肯下笔。(袁宏道《叙小修诗》)

(吾弟小修所作之诗大都抒发自己独到的性情,不拘泥于古人的固定模式与套路,如果不是出自本心,绝不肯下笔。)

Most of my brother Xiaoxiu’s poems express his inner self, without being constrained by the rigid patterns and structures of ancient literary writings. He would not commit to paper anything not flowing naturally from his inner world. (Yuan Hongdao: Preface to Xiaoxiu’s Poetry)

◎自三百篇至今日,凡诗之传者,都是性灵,不关堆垛。(袁枚《随园诗话》卷五)

(从《诗经》到今日,凡是能够广泛流传的诗歌,都是因为表达了自己的性灵,与堆砌辞藻和典故没有关系。)

Ever since The Book of Songs was written, all those poems which have remained popular were created to give full expression to the authors’ inner self, instead of being loaded with clichés and classical references. (Yuan Mei: Suiyuan Poetry)

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