The Northern Song (960–1126) was one of the most transformative periods in Chinese literary history, characterized by the emergence of printing and an ensuing proliferation of books. The poet Huang Tingjian (1045–1105), writing at the height of this period, both defined and was defined by these changes. The first focused study on the cultural consequences of printing in Northern Song China, this book examines how the nascent print culture shaped the poetic theory and practice of Huang Tingjian and the Jiangxi School of Poetry he founded.
Author Yugen Wang argues that at the core of Huang and the Jiangxi School’s search for poetic methods was their desire to find a new way of reading and writing that could effectively address the changed literary landscape of the eleventh century. Wang chronicles the historical and cultural negotiation Huang and his colleagues were conducting as they responded to the new book culture, and opens new ground for investigating the literary interpretive and hermeneutical effects of printing. This book should be of interest not only to scholars and readers of classical Chinese poetry but to anyone concerned with how the material interacts with the intellectual and how technology has influenced our conception and practice of reading and writing throughout history.