Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 90–114 | Cite as

Is Li Bai a romanticist? —Understanding an old poet through a new concept

Research Article


In the 20th century, the most frequently used critical term in Li Bai studies is “romanticism.” Li Bai is regarded as a romantic poet and his poetry is typical of romantic writing. But nowadays, the usage of these terms has been under attack. It is considered to be alien to the nature of classical Chinese literature. The most influential volume of Chinese literary history edited by Yuan Xingpei, which is published seven years ago, pays little attention to this term in the chapter on Li Bai. Are Western critical ideas really inappropriate in understanding Chinese classical literature? Can we imagine a wholly purified criticism that depends only on native Chinese critical terms without any Western impact? As modern readers, how can we understand our literary past? These questions have been under discussion for a long time ever since the modernity of Chinese literary criticism has become a major topic in modern literary studies. Reconsidering the establishment and spread of the concept “romanticism” in the study of Li Bai, will offer us some good answers to those questions.


Li Bai romanticism adoption rejection inspiration 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrams, M. H. (1953), The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition New York: W. W. Norton & Company. INC.Google Scholar
  2. Alley, Rewi trans. (1980), Li Pai: 200 Selected Poems, Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Co. Hong Kong Branch.Google Scholar
  3. Cai Yi 蔡仪 (1979), Wenxue gailun 文学概论 (Outlines of literature), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  4. Chaves, Jonathan (1985), “The Expression of self in the Kung-an School,” in Robert Hegel and Richard Hessney ed. Expressions of Self in Chinese Literature, New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Chen Guoen 陈国恩 (2000), Langman zhuyi yu Zhongguo wenxue 浪漫主义与中国文学 (Romanticism and Chinese literature), Hefei: Anhui jiaoyu chubanshe.Google Scholar
  6. Ge Xiaoyin 葛晓音 (2003), Tangshi Songci shiwu jiang 唐诗宋词十五讲 (15 Lectures on Tang-Song poetry), Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  7. Gong Qichang 龚启昌 (1936), Zhongguo wenxue shi duben 中国文学史读本 (Readings on Chinese literary history), Shanghai: Shanghai lehua tushu gongsi.Google Scholar
  8. Lee, Leo Ou-fan (1973), The Romantic Generation of Modern Chinese writers, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Liang Qichao 梁启超 (2001), “Zhongguo yunwen li suo biaoxian de qinggan” 中国韵文里 所表现的情感 (Sentimental expressions in Chinese verse), in Yinbing shi wenji 饮冰室文集 (Collected works of Yinbin study), Kunming: Yunnan jiaoyu chubanshe.Google Scholar
  10. Liang Shiqiu 梁实秋 (1978), “Xiandai Zhongguo wenxue zhi langman de qushi” 现代中国文学之浪漫的趋势 (Romantic trends in modern Chinese literature), in Liang Shiqiu lun wenxue 梁实秋论文学 (Essays on literature by Liang Shiqiu), Taibei: Shibao wenhua chuban shiye youxian gongsi.Google Scholar
  11. Lin Geng 林庚 (1987), Tangshi zonglun 唐诗综论 (On Tang poetry), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  12. Liu Dajie 刘大杰 (1941), Zhongguo wenxue fazhan shi 中国文学发展史 (History of the evolution of Chinese literature), Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju.Google Scholar
  13. Liu Hsieh 刘勰,Vincent Yu-chung Shih trans. (1959), The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons (Wenxin diaolong 文心雕龙), New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Lovejoy, Arthur O. (1948), Essays in the History of Ideas, Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  15. Luo Kanru 骆侃如 (1953), Zhongguo wenxue shi xinbian 中国文学史新编 (New edition of Chinese literary history), Hong Kong: Xiandai wenjiao she.Google Scholar
  16. Mair, Victor H. ed. (1994), Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Mair, Victor H. ed. (2001), The Columbia History of Chinese Literature, New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Owen, Stephen (1981), The Great Age of Chinese Poetry: The High T’ang, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Shigeyoshi Obata trans. (1965), The Works of Li Po: The Chinese Poet, New York: Paragon Book Reprint Corp.Google Scholar
  20. Tan Zhengbi 谭正璧 (1933), Zhongguo wenxue shi dagang 中国文学史大纲 (Outlines of Chinese literary history), Shanghai: Guangming shuju.Google Scholar
  21. Watson, Burton (1984), The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry, New York: Columbia Unversity Press.Google Scholar
  22. Wellek, Rene (1962), “Romanticism Re-examined,” in Concepts of Criticism, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Xu Yuanchong 许渊冲 trans. (1994), Song of the Immortals: An Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry, Beijing: Xin shijie chubanshe.Google Scholar
  24. Ye Qingbing 叶庆炳 (1965), Zhongguo wenxue shi 中国文学史 (Literary history of China), Taibei: Guangwen shuju.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of LiteratureChinese Academy of Social SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations