A Wild Deer amid Soaring Phoenixes: The Opposition Poetics of Wang Ji
256pp. September 2003
A Wild Deer amid Soaring Phoenixes: The Opposition Poetics of Wang Ji
Author: Warner, Ding Xiang;
Credited in China as a "transitional" figure, Wang Ji (590-644) is known for his revival of eremitic themes from the earlier Wei-Jin period and for anticipating the rise of regulated verse forms in the "golden era" of Tang poetry. Yet throughout the centuries Wang Ji has puzzled readers and sometimes offended their moral sensibilities by his unapologetic celebrations of his life as a round-the-clock drinker. Until now scholars have treated him primarily as a problem of biography and have struggled to find "evidence" in his work for his reclusive and unwieldy character and, once and for all, to tell the story of his life and thought. This in-depth study of the early Tang-dynasty poet, the first to be published in a Western language, surveys the complete range of Wang Ji's enigmatic literary self-representation and proposes new ways of understanding the poetics behind his practice.
"A good book ... I recommend it strongly" --T'oung Pao XC (2004)

"Warner is a fine sinologist, who has done a real service in presenting everything that is known today about this enigmatic figure ... The general production, as one expects of University of Hawaii Press, is first-rate in every respect." --China Review International, Spring 2004

"Wang Ji has long been regarded as one of the most interesting writers of the Tang dynasty's first decades, largely because his work is so different from that of his contemporaries. Warner's careful examination of Wang Ji's poetry casts a fresh light on both the poet himself and early Tang poetry in general." --Paul W. Kroll, University of Colorado, Boulder

"This well crafted study of Wang Ji's poems might serve as a model for other studies of minor literary figures. The translations are well selected and the interpretations among the best I have read in recent years." --William H. Nienhauser, Jr., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Author: Warner, Ding Xiang;
Ding Xiang Warner is assistant professor of Chinese literature in the Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University.
Read the introduction (PDF).