Beacon Fire and Shooting Star
The Literary Culture of the Liang (502–557)
The Liang dynasty (502-557) is one of the most brilliant and creative periods in Chinese history and one of the most underestimated and misunderstood. Under the Liang, literary activities, such as writing, editing, anthologizing, and cataloguing, were pursued on an unprecedented scale, yet the works of this era are often dismissed as "decadent" and no more than a shallow prelude to the glories of the Tang.
This book is devoted to contextualizing the literary culture of this era--not only the literary works themselves but also the physical process of literary production such as the copying and transmitting of texts; activities such as book collecting, anthologizing, cataloguing, and various forms of literary scholarship; and the intricate interaction of religion, particularly Buddhism, and literature. Its aim is to explore the impact of social and political structure on the literary world.
Tian Xiaofei is a young scholar at Harvard who has been working on AOF literature, a field previously dominated in the English language by the veterans Donald Holzman, Richard Mather, and David Knechtges. She is also married to Stephen Owen, the current US authority on Tang and pre-Tang poetry. Her new book is due to be published by the end of this month.