China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
During the mid- and late Ming periods, a great number of scholars were concerned about the decline of literature and the dominance of the Neo-Confucian School of Mind (xinxue 心學). Among those scholars, the prominent poetry critic and scholar Hu Yinglin (1551-1602) stood out as the one who attempted to address those issues in his writings.
This paper examines a variety of Hu Yinglin’s works, including a diversity of literary genres: letters, poems, and prefaces to various collections and anthologies, as well as the most important critical writings authored by Hu—Shisou (Thicket of Remarks on Poetry) and Shaoshishanfang bicong (The Notes from the Studio at the Shaoshi Mountain), Hu’s miscellaneous notes on literary, historical, and philosophical topics.
This paper demonstrates how Hu Yinglin intentionally traced the literary and intellectual histories of Jinhua through offering a review and evaluation of the relations between the literati who were from Jinhua and those who were not natives yet gained their reputations in Jinhua. In Hu’s work, he pays particular attention to Jinhua literary masters such as Liu Xiaobiao (462-521), Luo Binwang (fl. seventh century), and Song Lian (1310-1381) and hence establishes the literary and poetic tradition for Jinhua. I argue that Hu’s construction of the literary tradition and the scholarly tradition of evidential learning (kaoju 考據) in Jinhua serves as the means by which he responded to the empire-wide academic climate and expressed his expectation of late Ming literati as “erudite gentleman” in general.