Why Xie Lingyun (385-433)?

Why Xie Lingyun (385-433)?

Ping Wang - Associate Professor of Asian Languages & Literature, University of Washington

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
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To understand the rise of classical Chinese poetry in the five-syllable line during the third and then again fifth centuries, it is essential to return to the “least-read major poet” Xie Lingyun. In this talk, I venture to answer some of the thorny questions in Xie Lingyun studies. What is wrong with the cliched label shanshui shi or “Landscape Poetry?” If we moved away from this traditional yet problematic categorization, how else might we situate Xie Lingyun’s poetry in the literary tradition, especially with regard to the development of shi poetry? Last but not least, how did Xie Lingyun bring about what would have been a crucial transformation in constructing the five-syllable line?  Considerations of these questions taken together may shed new light on the emergence of early Chinese classical poetry and its subsequent ascension to the “classical” status.


Ping Wang is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Princeton University. Her research focuses on the history of early and medieval Chinese literature, poetry and poetics, and translation and criticism. She is the author of The Age of Courtly Writing: Wen xuan Compiler Xiao Tong (501-531) and His Circle (Leiden: Brill, 2012) and co-editor of Southern Identity and Southern Estrangement in Medieval Chinese Poetry (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2015). She has published numerous journal articles on Six Dynasties and Tang poetry. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript that explores the cultural and textual meanings of the Chinese “landscape” (shanshui) and the role Xie Lingyun played in the (re)formation of shi poetry.


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