An Inverted Reputation at Home and Abroad – Brief Analysis on Han Shan Poems’ “Coldness” in Chinese Mass Culture

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Zuo Maojiang


Though there has been a long historical period of “Canonization of Han Shan’s Poem” in Japan and 1960s’ “Hanshan Fever” in the US, the “Hanshan” condition of “being popular abroad but cold at home” remains undeniable. By acknowledging the fact that the contemporary domestic academic researches on Hanshan poem are inspired by foreign fever, this article first reexamine the generation of Hanshan poem from the background of Chinese poetic tradition and Zen language system, try to reveal the historical context of “Hanshan fever” abroad, then reconstruct Hanshan’s representation and portrait in others’ culture’s “canonization” and “anti – tradition” processes. Finally, it pointed out that the contradiction of both being “non – classical” and “non – public – oriented” judging from Chinese traditional poetic system, leads to both Hanshan’s inevitable obscurity in China and popular opportunity in Japan and the US. This feature can also empower the reflection on its time value when “classics popularization” is right on trend.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Mutual Learning among Civilizations through Comparative Literature