桐城派 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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Tónɡchénɡpài 桐城派

The Tongcheng School of Writing

清代影响最大的古文流派,因代表人物都是安徽桐城人,故名。形成于康熙(1662—1722)年间,鼎盛期在乾隆(1736—1795)、嘉庆(1796—1820)年间,文脉绵延近二百年。创始人方苞(1668—1749)提出“学行继程朱之后,文章在韩欧之间”,该观点奠定了学派的风格基调。主要人物先后有戴名世(1653—1713)、刘大櫆(1698—1779)、姚鼐(1732—1815)、梅曾亮(1786—1856)、方东树(1772—1853)、吴汝纶(1840—1903)等。桐城派普遍重视文与道的关系,要求在内容上“文以载道”,形式上“雅洁”,其重要理论有方苞提出的“义法”说,姚鼐提出的“义理、考据、辞章”说,以及刘大櫆提出的“神气”说。桐城派继承了中国古文写作的优良传统,对散文创作做了系统的理论总结,长期享有盛誉,直至近代梁启超(1873—1929)等人倡导“文界革命”,桐城派才被认为是保守的象征而受到诟病。

This school of writing represented the Qing Dynasty’s most influential style of classical Chinese writing. Its representative figures were all natives of Tongcheng, Anhui Province, hence the name. It was formed during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1722) and reached its height during the reigns of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) and Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820). Its founder, Fang Bao (1668-1749), believed that men of letters should follow the style of writing of the neo-Confucian moralists Cheng Hao (1032-1085), Cheng Yi (1033-1107), and Zhu Xi (1130-1200), and that of great men of letters like Han Yu (768-824) and Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072). This set the tone for this school of writing. Among its prominent figures were Dai Mingshi (1653-1713), Liu Dakui (1698-1779), Yao Nai (1732-1815), Mei Zengliang (1786-1856), Fang Dongshu (1772-1853), and Wu Rulun (1840-1903). Writers of this school emphasized that writings should convey moral ideals and be refined and well-laid out in form. Such a style of writing was based on Fang Bao’s “guidelines for writing good prose,” Yao Nai’s stress on “conveying righteous messages, facts and evidence, and rhetoric and technique,” and Liu Dakui’s theory about “a piece of writing and its author’s charm.” The Tongcheng School of Writing inherited Chinese scholars’ tradition of writing in classical Chinese and offered a theoretical summary about prose writing. It enjoyed high prestige until the Revolution in the Literati circle led by Liang Qichao (1873-1929), when it came under attack as a symbol of conservatism.

引例 Citations:

◎神者,文家之宝。文章最要气盛,然无神以主之,则气无所附,荡乎不知其所归也。神者气之主,气者神之用。神只是气之精处。古人文章可告人者惟法耳,然不得其神而徒守其法,则死法而已。(刘大櫆《论文偶记》)

(“神”是写文章的人最要看重的东西。写文章最是要“气”盛,但如果没有“神”统帅“气”,那么“气”就会没有东西可以依附,就像在空中飘荡而无所归依。“神”是“气”的灵魂,而“气”是“神”的具体应用。“神”是“气”的凝聚与精华。古人能告诉别人的只是文章的技法,但如果得不到文章的“神”而只是遵守技法,那这些技法不过是死的东西而已。)

“Inner strength” is what prose writers endeavor to express. An essay does need to sound vigorous, but it should convey the author’s inner strength. Without it, the so-called vigor of an essay will have no foundation, drifting aimlessly in the air. The author’s inner strength is the soul of the essay’s vigor; the latter is the concrete manifestation of the former. The author’s inner strength is the condensed form and essence of the essay’s vigor. Our ancestors can only pass skills of writing onto us. If a writer fails to capture the essence of writing and obeys only superficial rules, he will only be hindered by them. (Liu Dakui: Occasional Thoughts About Writing)

◎为文章者,有所法而后能,有所变而后大。维盛清治迈逾前古千百,独士能为古文者未广。昔有方侍郎,今有刘先生,天下文章,其出于桐城乎?(姚鼐《刘海峰先生八十寿序》)

(写文章的人,有所取法然后能写好,有所变化然后能光大。如今大清太平盛世,超越前代千百倍,唯独能写古文的文士不多。[写文章最好的,]过去有侍郎方苞,现在有刘大櫆先生,天下的好文章,大概都出自桐城吧?)

Good writing involves not only complying with rules but also bold departure from them. Ours is a time of prosperity infinitely greater than any previous era, but there are few men of letters who are good at writing classical Chinese. The two best writers are Vice Minister Fang Bao of the past and our great Lord Liu of today! The best literary prose of the country has probably been written by scholars of Tongcheng origin! (Yao Nai: A Congratulatory Message on Liu Haifeng’s Eightieth Birthday)

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