Ou-Yang Hsiu

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ou-Yang Hsiu

 

(second name, Yung-shu). Born 1007 in Luling (present-day Chi-an, Kiangsi Province); died 1072. Chinese writer. Representative of classical prose and one of the “eight great masters of the T’ang and Sung dynasties” (seventh through 13th centuries).

Ou-yang Hsiu held high government posts. He attacked the formalistic “parallel style” then dominating prose and urged writers to learn clarity and pithiness by studying the ancient classics. Ou-yang wrote in virtually all the genres of “high literature”: historical, didactic, descriptive, and philosophic prose, in addition to poetry (the fu, shih, tzu, and other genres). He invented the genre of the shih-hua (judgments on poetry), which later became popular. Ou-yang also wrote the poem of keen social criticism “On Those Who Eat Distillery Refuse.” His prose miniatures “The Tipsy Elder’s Pavilion” and “Funeral Speech on Shih Man-ch’ing” and the fu “Voice of Autumn” have become anthology pieces.

Ou-yang Hsiu’s laconic, clear, and exceptionally refined style is considered a model of its kind. He was one of the compilers of the New History of the Tang Dynasty and the compiler of the Historical Notes on the Five Dynasties. In the latter, he advanced the principles of the historical legality and ethical nature of political power, treating theses aspects of political power in a feudalistic-Confucian spirit. Ou-yang Hsiu also wrote A Collection of Ancient Inscriptions With Explanations Thereof, which contains transcriptions of and commentaries on hundreds of inscriptions engraved in metal and stone during the course of two millennia on vessels, bells, walls, and gravestones and in palaces and temples.

WORKS

Ou-yang Yung-shu chi, vols. 1–3. Shanghai, 1958.
In Russian translation:
In Kitaiskaia klassicheskaia proza, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1959.
Poeziia epokhi Sung. Moscow, 1959.

REFERENCE

Chung-kuo wen-hsüeh shih, vol. 3. Peking, 1964.

V. T. SUKHORUKOV and R. V. VIATKIN

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Tsui quotes Ouyang Xiu [phrase omitted] castigating a friend for adopting the conventions of government documents when sending a personal letter, and shows Lu Zuqian [phrase omitted] warning his students not to use the bureaucratic zha form and its associated "empty formalities" in their private correspondence.
The poet Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072), for example, noted that West Lake's waters were "so clear and green they might be painted." Nearly a millennium later, Huang Zunxian (1848-1905) described it as "a vague and indistinct expanse of water and clouds / where lotus leaves merge with weeping willow branches." In the six paintings here--all standing alone in insular grandeur--there were no lotus leaves and weeping-willow branches, and the waters were not clear and green but murkily white, as though luminous.
Reflected is the point of view in what the Northern Song Dynasty writer Ouyang Xiu remarked in his book of critiquing calligraphy.
With very few exceptions, such as the Liangshu by Yao Silian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (?-637) and the privately compiled Wudai shiji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Historical Records of the Five Dynasties) by Ouyang Xiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1007-1072), all dynastic histories have been compiled by teams of scholars.
When confronted with the information that a man he had recommended for office based upon his poetry had accepted bribes, the statesman and literatus Ouyang Xiu was forced to concede: "That's how unreliable poetry is" (104).
Wang Maolin led the effort to restore Pingshan Hall, a site associated with the Song literatus Ouyang Xiu, who was nota native of Yangzhou but had served there, and the Hall served to tie Ouyang's literary reputation to this particular site.
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The genealogy in Ouyang Xiu's (1007-1072) Wudai shiji is a pivotal text because it provides a full list of ancestors and their posthumous titles and temple names.
Attention is paid to the great historians of the Song period, notably Ouyang Xiu and Sima Guang, from whose Comprehensive Mirror [1084] comes the title of this book.
Neither points out, for instance, that Daini's conception of the ideal unitary government of ancient times and the later decline of civilization due to the splitting of this original unity -- the split between coercion (bu) and the rites (bun) wherein the former is no longer subordinated to the latter -- was already fully laid out in the Song dynasty writings of Ouyang Xiu (sec Xin Tangshu ch.
While in office, however, he befriended Ouyang Xiu, then a minor official and a leading advocate of the guwen movement.
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