Ideographic Myth and Misconceptions about Chinese Poetic Art

  • Cai ZongqiEmail author


The chapter by Cai Zongqi is a critique of François Cheng’s 程抱一 misrepresentation of Chinese poetic art, one that is grounded in the “ideographic myth” as advocated by Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound in their influential work The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry. By providing ample evidence from Chinese poetry and poetics, Cai shows that, contrary to Cheng’s claims, the ideographic structure of Chinese characters is of little consequence, if not totally irrelevant, to the evolution of Chinese poetic art. This critique is a prelude to Cai’s own theory that the monosyllabic sounds of Chinese characters, and not their ideographic structures, have shaped the unique rhythms, syntax, and structures of Chinese poetry.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of East Asian Languages and CulturesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChineseLingnan University of Hong KongTuen MunHong Kong

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