The mechanism of textual production and the poetic significance of the woodblock prints of selection of Tang poetry in the Edo period = 江戶時代《唐詩選》和刻本的文本生成與詩學意義

Project title
The mechanism of textual production and the poetic significance of the woodblock prints of selection of Tang poetry in the Edo period = 江戶時代《唐詩選》和刻本的文本生成與詩學意義
Principal Investigator
Grant Awarding Body
Research Grants Council
Grant Type
Faculty Development Scheme
Project Code
Amount awarded
Funding Year
Duration of the Project
24 months
The proposed research takes an innovative and critical approach to the study of print culture and poetics in the Edo period (1603–1867) in Japan. This project will focus on how Selection of Tang Poetry [Tangshi xuan 唐詩選], an anthology of Tang poetry attributed to Li Panlong 李攀龍 (1514–1570, a member of the literati in the Ming dynasty), circulated in Japan in the pre-modern era after being shipped directly from China. Selection of Tang Poetry was one of the most reprinted literary anthologies of the period, and was the topic of zealous discussions by the Ancient Rhetoric School [kobunji gaku 古文辞学] in Japan. The book provided numerous literary models for the contemporary poet to follow, and was regarded as a crucial guidebook at a time when the publishing industries of Japan were flourishing. Through primarily a case study of the circulation of the anthology, this project also seeks to bring together the study of literary criticism, book history, reading history, and print culture. In recent years, East Asian classics written in the Sinitic script have drawn a lot of scholarly attention. Using reprints of Selection of Tang Poetry as a point of departure, this project seeks to introduce a comparative framework and examine how publications in the East Asian cultural sphere-shaped various interpretations of this text. Literary anthologies are one of the most important forms of literary criticism. They shed light on the interaction between elite and popular culture. While established literati often use anthologies to show their poetry preferences, these anthologies enjoy a readership that reaches beyond any single community. Selection of Tang Poetry is an excellent subject for study, since numerous publishers have sought to advocate their own perceptions of poetry through editing. In order to ensure the popularity of their publications, these publishers frequently provided annotations and illustrations when they reprinted the anthology. Thus, in studying the circulation of Selection of Tang Poetry, this project investigates how literary criticism and commercial printing interacted with one another from the 16th to the 18th century. This project will begin by juxtaposing different versions of Selection of Tang Poetry printed in the Edo period. It will shed light on the poetics advocated by various literati and the text of commentaries appropriated by the publishers, as well as how the poetic ideas from different discourses and text resources were manifested in the various reprints of this literary anthology. In addition, this case study will allow us to evaluate the significance of print in both China and Japan, and re-examine any cultural similarities and differences.