, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 48-77
Date: 10 Feb 2011

Changing old tune to new tune: Liu Yong’s urban narrative and the urban cultural construction in the mid-song dynasty


In the 1920s, the Japanese scholar Naito Konan put forward the famous theories of “the Song dynasty is the beginning of modern China” and “the cultural transformation was completed during the Tang and Song dynasties,” which exerted far-reaching influence in the academic circle. However, although full of the “numerous academic growth points and exuberant academic vitality, the theories have not been well explored and illustrated yet.” This paper, taking Liu Yong as a case study, is intended to provide concrete examples to Naito’s theories. The urban narrative in Liu Yong’s lyrics—the multi-role discourse practice of a prodigal poet, a talented lyricist, and a traveling official—inherited the discourse splitting trend of the late-Tang and Five dynasties and finished the transformation from the elite to the mass discourse. Accordingly, it set the narrative mode of amorous themes and discourse mode of “talented lyricist plus amorous affairs,” which exerted far-reaching influence on the construction of the new urban culture in the Song dynasty.

About the Contributor Wang Xiaoyun 王筱云, Professor in Institute of Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She obtained her PH. D. from Nanjing Normal University in 1988. Her academic interests lie in Tang and Song literature and Chinese poetics. She has translated The Literary Theory in the 20 th Century into Chinese and written Bishan ci yanjiu 碧山词研究 (Research on Bishan ci poems).