Song Dynasty Ci and Shi Poetics

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.2, 2016


Song Dynasty Ci and Shi Poetics



Sun Keqiang


The Song Dynasty was a high point in poetics, and also a period when ci poetics developed rapidly, resulting in the first high tide in the history of ci studies. Once the ci fell into the hands of the scholar gentry, they were attracted by the magnetism of this powerful poetic form and made it their preferred verse form. Critics played a marked role in the evolution of ci styles. At first they used didactic poetic theory to criticize and exclude it; then they provided an exegesis of ci using the ideas of existing poetics, bringing the ci form on to the track of shi poetics; and finally, they developed new styles of ci which merged with the character and qualities of previous poetic forms. One could say that the history of the development of the Song ci is a history of the influence exerted by the existing poetics on ci studies, a history in which both learned from each other and blended together and in which ci poetics gradually accepted shi poetics and was itself changed.