Wan Shu’s writings of ci-poetry use various tunes, styles, and rhythms, aiming to pursue changes, while his theoretical work Rules of Ci-poetry emphasizes standardization, trying to explore established rules of the style, rhyme, and syntax in ci-poetry. Between his creation and theory there is thus an obvious contradiction, which can be explained, on the one hand, by the anxiety of influence derived from his compilation of Rules of Ci-poetry, and on the other, by his distinct creative personality and experience as an aide of generals. As a result, Wan Shu made efforts to subvert the tradition in the style of ci-poetry, seeking novelty and change to break the rules established in Rules of Ci-poetry. Qing poets’ evaluation of Wan Shu’s ci-poetry changed obviously over time, ranging from celebration of his contemporaries to criticisms of posterity. Such a shift of the scholarly evaluations of Wan Shu’s creation of ci-poetry in fact registered the canonizing process of his Rules of Ci-poetry.


Wan Shu, Collected Ci-poetry of Wan Shu, Rules of Ci-poetry, anxiety of influence

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