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�᪳㝏₎                 Confucian Education in the Manner of Guwen guanzhi      

    GAUDEAMUS

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The most renowned anthology of Literary Chinese is Guwen guanzhi, originally published in 1695 and popular ever since. Through a comparative study with a dozen classical Chinese anthologies in use during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), this work reveals first what is original in Guwen guanzhi, and how much it was modelled after other anthologies. Concentrating then on the unique characteristics of Guwen guanzhi, made quantifiable by a content analysis, it is demonstrated that the anthology manifests a bias towards ”spiritual localism” and innate, individualist virtue on the expense of state-defined moral. The author argues that Guwen guanzhi suited the self-enlightenment needs of the rising middle-class in its own time and has the potential to undermine monolithic orthodoxy even in today’s China. This work is approved as a Licentiate Thesis in East Asian Studies (Sinology) by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Helsinki, in June 2009. It complements the series of critical translations into Finnish from Guwen guanzhi, published in the form of a trilogy in 2005–2008 by Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press.


�᪳㝏₎                 Confucian Education in the Manner of Guwen guanzhi      

    GAUDEAMUS


This study has been greatly facilitated by a reasearch grant from the Center for Chinese Studies, Taipei

Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press, Oy Yliopistokustannus, HYY Yhtymä / HYY Group, Finland www.gaudeamus.fi Copyright © 2011 Jyrki Kallio & Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press

ISBN 978-952-495-607-9


Foreword to the Gaudeamus e-book edition This book is the first comprehensive, academic study of the best-known anthology of Literary Chinese, Guwen guanzhi. Originally published in early Qing-dynasty (1644–1911) the anthology has remained in use ever since: its stories and essays have been used to familiarize students with both the language and the virtues necessary for the upbringing of a Chinese gentleman. Nowadays there are many modern editions of Guwen guanzhi available, and the anthology is often used by other readers of Literary Chinese as a source. Guwen guanzhi, the title of the anthology, could be translated as ‘for the best of classical literature, look no further’. This highlights the ambition of the compilers, Wu Chucai (1655–1719) and his younger nephew, Wu Diaohou, to include the best examples of classical prose texts from the entire Chinese literary history known till that time. The selection, arranged chronologically, ranges from texts from the Zhou-era (1045–221 BCE) until the Ming-dynasty (1368–1644), and consists of altogether 222 texts. As Wu Chucai and Wu Diaohou freely admit, on their effort they relied upon the work done by other compilers of similar classical prose anthologies in existence. Nevertheless it is a tribute to the Wus that their anthology has survived until the present day unlike any other preceding or contemporary work. This is remarkable especially in the view of the socio-economic background of the Wus: they were no established scholars but worked as teachers in a village school. There are several interesting questions related to the compilation of Guwen guanzhi which this study aims to answer. It has been hitherto 5 · For e wor d t o t h e G aude a mu s e - b o ok e di t ion


unknown, what the anthologies which the Wus used as a basis of their own compilation were. The authorship of the comments and explanations, so important for students of Literary Chinese, has been questioned, as some pundits have been sure that mere village school teachers cannot have written them. Furthermore, there has been no clear view on the possible criteria used for the selection, and Guwen guanzhi has been regarded alternately as either boringly traditional or surprisingly progressive. Lastly, why has Guwen guanzhi, instead of other anthologies produced by famous scholars, survived, is a major issue which has been given precious little thought previously. In order to shed light on these questions, this book begins by explaining the historical and social background in which the compilers of Guwen guanzhi lived. First of all, it is important for a modern reader to comprehend that the Wus lived during the imperial era. The way to rise in social ranks on those days was deeply connected with education. Only through climbing the ladder of the imperial examination system was it possible to reach the top of the social strata and become a scholar-official. The examinations tested the students’ knowledge of the Confucian classics as well as their ability to express themselves in Literary Chinese, a style of writing which had remained practically unchanged for two millennia. Mastering Literary Chinese was the sign of a gentleman, much in the same way as fluency in Latin used to be highly regarded in Europe. Before the students were considered to be able to go into the depths of Confucian philosophy and statesmanship, they were acquainted with Confucian ethical values through historical stories and essays which were apprehended to be more appealing to the young minds than the actual classics. These stories and essays also cultivated an understanding of an eloquent literary style, as well as served as an introduction to the history and culture of China. It is such texts that Guwen guanzhi and other similar anthologies consist of. They would have been typically studied by students in their early teens.

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Not all students who studied the anthologies of Literary Chinese could hope to enter a career as an official. The examination system was arduous, demanding the students to devote their entire youth to studies. Such was usually possible only for the male offsprings of the scholarofficial class. However, the society in late Ming and early Qing was in a state of flux. A new middle class was forming, consisting of the wealthy but socially spurned merchants. Trade was an occupation not deemed suitable for the gentlemen according to the Confucians. In order to raise their social standing, increasing numbers of merchants and other well-off commoners started providing schooling for their children wishing them to become able to converse with the scholar-officials in their own language, so to speak. The demand for all kinds of study materials soared, and private schools not catering for the needs of the examination system were established in large numbers. Besides all this Early Qing was a time of political upheaval. The ruling class of the new dynasty were foreign conquerors, Manchu from the North-East. Their rule was heavily opposed by the Chinese, non-Manchu, upper class which remained loyal for the Ming-dynasty. Opposition was eventually suppressed, but at the time the Wus were working on their anthology, echoes of Ming loyalism were still abound especially at their home region in the lower reaches of the Yangzi River. Together with the rise of the middle class, and possibly influenced by a growing political consciousness brought upon by the dynastic change, the tender saplings of a civil society were starting to push from the ground. The soil of the lower Yangzi region was especially fertile, due to the concentration of both wealth and literacy. Unorthodox Confucian thinkers called for increased liberalism in ideology and politics. Although the Manchu rulers responded by tightening control and launching initiatives to rectify the unorthodox trends, the liberal thoughts did not disappear but rather moved underground. A safe way to continue expressing critics was to resort to the quoting of ancient texts, superficially unrelated to the contemporary society. Therefore, even an innocent anthology of 7 · For e wor d t o t h e G aude a mu s e - b o ok e di t ion


Literary Chinese was potentially a tool for political propaganda. Apparently, the censors of the Qing-dynasty saw nothing questionable in the content of Guwen guanzhi as the anthology was published without hindrance. Had they looked harder, they might have had second thoughts. It is likely that the students of Wu Chucai and Wu Diaohou were not mainly those preparing for the imperial examination but rather aspiring members of the new middle class. This would help to explain many features of Guwen guanzhi, to be discussed in subsequent chapters of this study. It is quite probable that the socio-political environment had an effect in the compilation work of the anthology. Although the Wus had a powerful and rich patron who had made himself a career in the service of the Manchu rulers, they must nevertheless have been familiar to, and perhaps influenced by, the works of the scholars critical towards the new dynasty. Following the sketch of the socio-political background, I shall provide an introduction to the preceding and contemporary anthologies which the Wus’ work had to compete against. I also reveal the true “blueprint” behind the Wus’ compilation. The main part of this book discusses the possibility that the compilers were making ideological statements through their anthology. I shall start by defining the special characteristics of Guwen guanzhi which is followed by textual analysis aiming to reveal any hidden messages under the manifest content. As a result, I come to the conclusion that the Wus were idealists believing in the right for everyone to receive education and wishing to promote humanistic, liberalist and pluralist values at a time the central government was pressing towards ever greater unity of the state and its ideology. This is the very reason I have chosen to use the phrase “enlightenment for the masses” in the title of this book: it describes the nature of the Wus’ endeavour. That the texts included in Guwen guanzhi are still read in China today is of great significance. Under the rule of the Communist Party, unity of the state and its ideology are once again the central principles of 8 · C onfucian ed uc at ion and enlig ht enment


political life in China. However, the Party is Communist by name only, and it is widely accepted that there is an ideological, even spiritual, vacuum among the Chinese population. The officially-endorsed campaigns to promote traditional culture, launched by the government in order to direct the people away from questionable foreign values, has created a market for readers such as Guwen guanzhi, just as there was a market for the anthology during early Qing-dynasty. The Party might want the citizens to learn such traditional values as harmony, collectiveness and patriotism, but the readers of Guwen guanzhi will undoubtedly be able to pick up also the possible hidden messages left in between the lines by Wu Chucai and Wu Diaohou. Whether these messages are really “hidden”, due to the conscious efforts of the compilers, cannot be proven with absolute certainty. Nevertheless, the texts do advocate humanism, liberalism and pluralism, themes which today are as topical as ever. We may never know why the Wus chose certain texts in their anthology and discarded others, and why they have formulated their comments in the way they have. Yet I hope to be able to demonstrate that under the surface there can be much more than meets the eye, even though the object of this study is a mere reader for school-children. If I succeed, this study then illustrates the potential power of literature as an ideological tool, the challenges of evading censorship as well as the impossibility of water-tight censorship. This book is originally my Licentiate Thesis in East Asian Studies, approved by the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, in June 2009. In Swedish and Finnish universities, the Licentiate is a level 8 research degree in accordance with the European Qualifications Framework (i.e. a third cycle degree as specified in the Bologna Process) and requires the completion of all the coursework required for a doctorate and a dissertation formally equivalent to a half of a doctoral dissertation. Preceding the completion of this study, I have translated into Finnish a wide selection of the texts in Guwen guanzhi. These translations 9 · For e wor d t o t h e G aude a mu s e - b o ok e di t ion


have been published by Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press in three volumes (Jadepeili 2005, Jadel盲hde 2007 and Jadepeili 2008). I am grateful to Gaudeamus for deciding to publish this academic study to serve as a companion to the trilogy. In Helsinki in the summer of 2011 Jyrki Kallio LicPhil, MSocSc

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Contents Foreword to the Gaudeamus e-book edition ……………………… 5 Introduction …………………………………………………………… 13 GUWEN GUANZHI: praise and criticism ………………………………… 17 Guwen guanzhi ……………………………………………………… 17 Praise and criticism ………………………………………………… 19 Aims of this research ………………………………………………… 22 Setting the stage ……………………………………………………… 25 Guwen as a literary style and a political vehicle …………………… 25 The power of literature ……………………………………………… 27 The men of Shaoxing ………………………………………………… 30 A new middle class ………………………………………………… 32 The forefathers of GUWEN GUANZHI …………………………………… 34 The forefather of all anthologies …………………………………… 34 Song-dynasty anthologies as models for the notes in Guwen guanzhi 35 Ming-dynasty anthologies ……………………………………………44 The Qing dynasty predecessors ……………………………………… 46 Imperially Commissioned Profound Mirror of Ancient Essays or Guwen yuanjian …………………………………………………… 46 The ‘blueprint’ for Guwen guanzhi: Guwen xiyi ……………………… 48 Plagiarizing or compiling? …………………………………………… 52 Bringing enlightenment to the less advantaged ………………… 55 The origins of Guwen guanzhi according to its compilers …………… 55 Educational ideals …………………………………………………… 57 The life and theft of Wu Chucai …………………………………… 62 The life ……………………………………………………………… 62 The ‘theft’ …………………………………………………………… 64 History for the masses: Gangjian yizhi lu …………………………… 65


The competition ………………………………………………………… 67 The abridged Guwen yuanjian ……………………………………… 67 Gu wenci leizuan and its abridged version ……………………………69 The works of Zeng Guofan ………………………………………… 71 Guwen for beginners ………………………………………………… 73 The plagiaries of the plagiary ………………………………………… 75 Guwen shiyi ………………………………………………………… 75 Guwen pingzhu quanji ……………………………………………… 77 An unknown source? ………………………………………………… 79 GUWEN GUANZHI with Chinese characteristics ……………………… 81 Guwen guanzhi in action …………………………………………… 81 The special characteristics of Guwen guanzhi ……………………… 84 The politics of GUWEN GUANZHI ………………………………………… 86 The Confucian virtues ……………………………………………… 86 Confucianism: an idealist interpretation …………………………… 88 Confucianism: a utilitarian interpretation …………………………… 89 The fate of pre-Han Confucianism ………………………………… 91 New Confucianism and Confucian genealogy ………………………94 The Song–Ming continuum of writers ……………………………… 95 Feudalist, regionalist and anti-Manchu ethos? ……………………… 97 Anecdotal evidence ………………………………………………… 98 An attempt at a statistical content analysis ……………………… 101 The results ………………………………………………………… 105 Conclusions …………………………………………………………… 112 The true origin of Guwen guanzhi ………………………………… 112 A link in a chain ………………………………………………… 114 The defeat of the competitors ………………………………………115 Enlightened approach to education ……………………………… 116 The work of Wu Chucai and Wu Diaohou reappraised ………… 117 Preparing ground for New Confucianism ………………………… 119 Sources ………………………………………………………………… 121

Tables ……………………………………………………………… 129


Introduction This study explores and analyses the story of Guwen guanzhi (ऐ᪳㻬 ₎), the most renowned classical Chinese prose anthology still in circulation, which was compiled and edited by Wu Chucai and Wu Diaohou, and published for the first time in 1695. The focus of the present analysis is to specify how it was compiled, what has made it so special, and why it is worth studying. Guwen guanzhi was not the only classical Chinese reader in the early Qing dynasty and it is not even the only one that has survived to the present day, but its overwhelming popularity is a remarkable phenomenon. In fact, every Chinese with an intermediate-level education is familiar with it. Furthermore, people quoting anecdotes in Literary Chinese have much more often selected them from Guwen guanzhi than from the original works. Except for the prefaces of the different editions of Guwen guanzhi, and an occasional article in a general literature text book, few discussions about Guwen guanzhi can be found. Today, Guwen guanzhi is ‘merely’ a reader used in middle-schools, known to everyone and thus of special interest to no one. Classical anthologies are interesting because classical Chinese texts were not studied for their literary merits alone. Like Latin in Europe, classical texts were thought to build not only a student’s ability to formulate arguments and to debate, they were also thought to build moral character. Indeed, what would have been a better way to saturate young minds with Confucian values than by exposing them to exciting, witty stories. Therefore, any selection of texts that was made—at least subconsciously— constituted an ideological statement. In short, the starting point of this 1 3 · In t r od uc t ion


study is the realisation that there could also be more to Guwen guanzhi than meets the eye; that there is something between the lines. Through a comparative study with a dozen classical Chinese anthologies in use during the early Qing dynasty, this study reveals the extent to which the compilers of Guwen guanzhi modelled their work after other selections, and what the special characteristics of Guwen guanzhi are that have made it so popular. Moreover, through identifying and analysing the special characteristics of Guwen guanzhi, this study discloses what—if any—ideological statements the compilers were possibly making through their innocent reader, and then discusses what purpose those statements could have served. The political, social and economic environment of the early Qing era was closely linked to both the manifest and the ‘hidden’ nature of Guwen guanzhi. The environment today similarly directs the further destiny of this anthology. The wider frame of reference of this study is the Chinese concept of state, and in particular, the ideal of Grand Unity which was at the heart of the state doctrine through the whole Imperial era. This ideal was aimed at both territorial and ideological unity. The Qing emperors—like many of their predecessors—aspired to erase the idea from Confucianism that an unworthy or tyrannical ruler would have no claim to loyalty. It may be argued that both ‘concrete’ and ‘spiritual’ localism are still being pushed aside by centralism in China. Through a content analysis based on a sample of the texts—those published in my own Finnish translations—this study measures the relative emphasis on centralism and localism (or monism and pluralism) that is expressed in the texts of Guwen guanzhi. Finally, this study discusses the possible role of Guwen guanzhi in cracking wider the inevitable faultlines in China’s state-enforced orthodoxy. In regard to the compilers, Wu Chucai and Wu Diaohou, this study concludes that the statement made by one of their contemporaries in 1695 is still valid: “When they thus rectified methods for the enlightenment of 1 4 · C onfucian ed uc at ion and enlig ht enment


the youth and assisted even the less-advantaged on the Way of learning, how could their achievement be regarded as trivial!�

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Jyrki Kallio: Enlightenment for the Masses (excerpt)