2014/2015 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar
The Motivation behind Recording Strange Events and Extraordinary Affairs in Miscellaneous Notes of the Ming Dynasty’s Wanli Period
陳剛 (Mr. Chen Gang)
October 10, 2014 (Friday); 5:30pm-6:45pm;
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
中國傳統儒家觀念以為，“子不語怪力亂神”。然而在明萬曆筆記中，卻記載了大量的奇聞異事、神怪之流。為了調整與正統文化之間的矛盾關係，筆記的作者與評論 者往往會在序跋中對“常”與“奇”之間的關係加以解釋言說：他們首先對“子不語”的傳統論調加以駁正，強調“子不語”的真正內涵並非“孔子絕對不說”；其 次認為，“常”與“奇”都是客觀存在的現實，是“理”或“道”這一終極概念的兩端，二者相倚相生、互為補足；再次，“常”、“奇”之間也並非截然對立，而 是相互一致，乃至可以彼此轉化。通過二者的相互對比與突顯，萬曆時人發掘出“奇”的以下功能：對“道”與“常”的認識輔助功能、博物功能、審美娛樂功能， 這也成為他們對“奇”進行言說與記錄的有力依據。
From the traditional Chinese Confucian perspective, the super-natural topics should not be mentioned in a meaningful discourse. However, numerous strange events, extraordinary affairs, and even gods and spirits, are documented in miscellaneous notes of the Ming dynasty’s Wanli period (1573-1620). To comprise the contradiction between these heterodox elements with the orthodox culture, the writers and commentators always offered detailed explanations on the relationship between the “normal” and the “strangeness” in their prefaces and postscripts. They argued with the conventional view, and pointed out that as objective existence, the normal and the strangeness embodied the opposing extremes of the concept of “Li” (理) or “Dao” (道). From their point of view, the normal and the strangeness are not only interdependent on each other, but also transformable to each other. By comparing the complicated relationship between the normal and the strangeness, literati of the Wanli period explored numerous functions of the “strangeness”, including facilitating the understanding of the “Li” and “normal,” broadening knowledge, and providing aesthetic entertainment. These functions of the strangeness also served as a convincing basis for the literati to document the “strangeness” in their works.
ALL ARE WELCOME!