The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events
Friday, 26 November 2021, 16:00
Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Lecture series »Sinophone Classicism«
YANG Lian (poet)»A Tower Built Downward: The Creative Transformation of Chinese Classical Lyric Aesthetics«
About the lecture
The aesthetics of classical Chinese poetry is a holistic conceptual construct consisting of multiple dimensions—philosophical, stylistic, and linguistic, among others. Its lyric forms are deeply rooted in the visuality, musicality, and imagistic associations of the Chinese language. Since the twentieth century, foreign (Western par excellence) concepts have been introduced en masse into the Chinese language, creating a potential split between characters (zi) and words (ci), which in classical written Chinese are often identical. Modern Chinese freestyle poetry is built upon this linguistic reality. Contemporary Sinophone poets thus need extra caution to navigate this landscape of deep crises. The »tower« of contemporary poetic writing is thus by necessity built downward, seeking inspirations from the autochthon tradition to answer our urgent existential questions. The target is to recreate a kind of classicist lyric aesthetics by »thinking through poetry« and to converge traditions—modern as well as classical, Chinese as well as foreign—in the depth of philosophical reflections. This creative transformation of Chinese classical lyric aesthetics is itself an epic of intellectual adventures.
About the speaker
About the lecture series
YANG Lian was born in Switzerland in 1955, and grew up in Beijing. His poems became well-known and influential inside and outside of China in the 1980s, especially when his sequence »Norilang« was published in 1983. He became a Chinese poet in exile after his work was blacklisted in China in 1989. Yang Lian has published fifteen collections of poems, two collections of poetical prose, many essays and one big book of autobiographical prose in Chinese. His work has also been translated into more than twenty languages. Yang Lian's most representative works include sequences and long poems such as »Yi«, »Where the Sea Stands Still«, »Concentric Circles«, »Narrive Poem« and »Anniversary Snow«. They display a profound understanding of, and creative links with, Classical Chinese poetry. Yang Lian lives in London and Berlin.
In recent years, literary and cultural works that evoke the cultural memories of classical Chinese traditions are gaining popularity in the global Sinitic-languages space and cyberspace. From literary to visual culture, from pop music to fashion, from state policies to daily rituals, these classicist articulations present Chineseness as complicated, multifaceted, multilingual, and cross-cultural. They raise important questions on the relevance of Chinese traditions today to China, to global Chinese communities, and to a future of »world literature«—as Goethe envisioned it nearly two centuries ago. In this multiannual lecture series, prominent scholars, writers, and artists will present fascinating case studies from their research or draw upon their aesthetic practices to elaborate on their understanding on these important questions. Such investigations demonstrate the abundant aesthetic and intellectual resources that the vast repertoire of Chinese cultural memories may provide to engage in a dialogue on the present and future of a global culture.
Concept of the lecture series: Zhiyi Yang, Professor of Sinology, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and Goethe Fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften
Calligraphy: Shi-Siang Teo »Lyrical Abstract: Ruan Ji series no. 10« (2017)
Registration and participation
Participation on spot
The number of participants is limited and only possible after prior registration.
Registration deadline: Monday, 22 November, 2021
Confirmation of Participation: You will receive a confirmation of participation note by email after the registration deadline. Please bring a printed copy of the confirmation to the event, as well as a proof of vaccination or recovery. Please bring a mask. We will also send written cancellations.
Participation via Zoom
Please register in advance at:
We will send you the Zoom link a couple of days before the event.