International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Youth, Patriotism and Liberation: The Social Role of Poetry in China
Dr. Lijun Bi

Chinese poetry is closely associated with the Confucian notion that literature is primarily informative and didactic, serving a social and moral purpose, as reflected in the proverbial saying “shi yan zhi” [poetry expresses intent]. In the early twentieth century, Chinese vernacular poetry emerged as a crucial part of Chinese intellectuals’ elaborate efforts to meet the enormous challenge of combining the external imperatives of national salvation with the internal prerequisites of enlightenment. Anti-traditionalism was a principal notion in this genre’s formative period. This paper considers the social role of poetry in China. It argues that the quest for emancipation from the traditional ethics of subordination and submissiveness is manifest in modern Chinese poetry, but this genre does not completely depart from tradition.

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