China Review International: Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 2007 Ronald Egan. The Problem of Beauty: Aesthetic Thought and Pursuits in Northern Song Dynasty China. Harvard East Asian Monographs 271. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2006. 405 pp. Hardcover $49.95, Isbn 0674022645. Ronald Egan's latest contribution to Northern Song literary studies delivers a wide ranging narrative apropos of, and a welcome compliment to, the voracious intellectualism of a culturally charged era. The Problem of Beauty offers an impressive exploration of Egan's established interests in two preeminent scholar-officials, Ouyang Xiu and Su Shi, while embarking upon new directions in other areas of cultural production. The book's scope engages larger implications of the two literary scholars' separate and sometimes competing assessments of Northern Song artistic and cultural practices. Ideas of aesthetic pleasure as embodied in these two scholars would subsequently enter public discourse through the works of their tenth- and early eleventh-century contemporaries, including Mi Fu, Wang Shen, Huang Tingjian, Sima Guang, and Qin Guan. As Egan notes in the introduction, this study is not a comprehensive or a systematic discussion of Northern Song aesthetics. Rather it is a selection of topics that emerged during the Northern Song and in
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Nov 28, 2008
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