Examine / Study
This term means to study or examine things, people or any phenomenon. It is an approach developed by Confucian scholars to help people obtain accurate assessments of things around them and to cultivate morals and ethics, as a kind of methodology. Sometimes the term is used as a noun to refer to a standard or criterion. When the term is used to assess a person’s qualifications, it refers to his moral quality which is to say, a person’s personality or moral integrity, as well as attainments in learning. In literary criticism, it has three connotations: first of all, it refers to the basic requirements and methods for poem or prose writing; second, it refers to the taste, style, and literary attainment; third, it is about the overall structure of a literary work or how the form and content are integrated. All in all, the term refers to the criteria applied in judging a literary work.
To study and analyze facts and phenomena is the right approach to obtain knowledge; the truth can only be obtained after facts and phenomena are thoroughly examined and analyzed. (The Book of Rites)
In the late Tang Dynasty, poets no longer possessed the bold, heroic qualities of their predecessors Li Bai and Du Fu. Nonetheless they still competed with each other with regard to the depth of thought and literary refinement. (Ouyang Xiu: Ouyang Xiu’s Criticism of Poetry)
Structure, content, and appeal are the essentials of poetry. Its structure will reflect the poetic form; its content will convey emotion; and its appeal will determine whether it has achieved a high level of artistry. (Gao Qi: Preface to Collected Works of Du’an)