"Peach Blossom Spring" and allusion in Chinese poetry

Submitted by James Miller on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 15:23
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Title"Peach Blossom Spring" and allusion in Chinese poetry
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSmilack, J. I.
Corporate AuthorsOwen, Stephen
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2010
PublisherHarvard University
Place PublishedUnited States -- Massachusetts
ISBN Number9781124338460
KeywordsAsian literature

This dissertation shows a development in references and allusion to Tao Qian's "Account of Peach Blossom Spring" in Chinese poetry through the tenth century. Uncovering origins of literary peach trees, the dissertation substantiates a historical interpretation. Tao's proximity to other depictions of utopia is examined. The dissertation studies and categorizes peach allusions from earliest times, providing extensive analysis of: the peach entry of categorized books (leishu ), including the Yiwen leiju, Chu xue fi, Baishi liutie, and Shileifu ; peach rhapsodies ( fu ) from categorized books and the Lidai fuhui ; and poems (shi ) in sources including the Selections of Refined Literature (Wen xuan ) and the New Songs of a Jade Terrace (Yutai xinyong ). The research focuses on the development of particular peach allusions and shows the changing literary weight or meanings for allusions within this category from the Six Dynasties to the Late Tang. Tracing these allusions and categories the dissertation shows under what circumstances allusions can develop, become compressed, and change categories. The meaning for Peach Blossom Spring, for example, becomes conflated with Daoist imagery after the rise of Celestial Master Daoism and the Queen Mother of the West's growing connection with Peaches of Immortality. For Tao Qian's story, the dissertation shows both a condensing of the story into fewer and more interchangeable words during the High Tang, but also a fundamental shift in the meaning of the story and the way peach allusions were used. The dissertation covers such topics as: alchemy, allegory, astrology, astronomy, beauty, botany, Buddhism, circulation, compilation, composition, cultural literacy, customs, encyclopedias, flowers, geography, happiness, impermanence, landscape poetry, literary history, medicine, metaphor, mythology, philosophy, religion, self-fashioning, and synecdoche, among others. Authors studied include: Bai Juyi, Cao Zhi, Du Fu, Dugu Shou, Fu Xuan, Guo Pu, Han Yu, Jiang Yan, Li Bai, Li Jiao, Liu Yuxi, Meng Haoran, Pan Yue, Qiwu Qian, Ren Fang, Shen Quanqi, Shen Yue, Tao Yuanming, Wang Wei, Wu Jizhi, Wu Shu, Wu Yuanheng, Xiao Gang, Yu Xin, Zhang Zhengjian, and Zhi Dun, among others.