A translation and study of the legendary diary of China’s first travel writer on his way up a secluded mountain, and a formalist analysis of Yüan drama
The first study in Two Studies in Chinese Literature centers on Diary of a Visit toHuang Shan, by Hsü Hsia-k’o, the first professional traveler and explorer of premodern China. Huang Shan became known in the 1930s as the superlative destination for mountain lovers—before then this mountain range of thirty-six peaks had been too inacessible to be commonly visited. But Hsü Hsia-k’o visited Huang Shan twice in the 1610s, recording his daily experiences in his travel diaries. Li Chi provides a translation of an excerpt from the diary, and Chang Shun-shu introduces the text, provides a biography of Hsü Hsia-k’o with an outline of his career and detailed charts of his travels, and compiles an annotated bibliography of works on this legendary premodern travel writer. In the second study, Dale Johnson formally analyzes vestigial details in the lyrics of Yüan dramas to gain a clearer view of Yüan opera’s musical structure. By cataloging the patterns of irregular instances, Johnson concludes that Yüan drama was a highly sophisticated art. The departures from the norm are conscious efforts to develop the form. Johnson sees this ever-expanding, ever-enlarging concept of form as a genuine flourishing of new music, a radical and startling shift in Chinese poetics.
Li Chi is Professor of Chinese at the University of British Columbia.Dale Johnson holds a PhD in Far Eastern Languages and Literature from the University of Michigan. He is Assistant Professor of Chinese, Oberlin College.