Wenqing Wu


In Yuan Zhen’s reform of imperial proclamation writing, content is given priority over form. The content covered two parts of the instructions to officials on the responsibilities and obligations and the descriptions of merits and demerits of officials, both belonging to the institutional attributes of imperial proclamation. When Yuan Zhen sought the support of imperial power for his reform, his reform was then subjected to the operation of the institutional power. As a result, his reform of linguistic style in the proclamation drafting was doomed to be incomplete. However, his efforts to introduce a less archaic style into the imperial writing gradually took on and was emulated. Yuan Zhen was critical to the imperial proclamation in the early Tang dynasty, but did not flatly reject it. Instead, he absorbed some elements that conformed to his idea. His imperial proclamation writing was modeled after the ancient Book of Documents, but he did not reproduce it. Yuan Zhen’s intention was to reform the stereotyped diction of imperial proclamation and to implement his literary idea of fact-seeking in order to realize the institutional function of imperial proclamation to promote and discredit. Different from other reforms that attempted to influence politics through literature, Yuan Zhen’ reform of imperial proclamation writing was a top-down endeavor, which represented a new change in literary reform.


genealogy of zixue, shuobu, the category of fiction, the category of miscellanies, stylistic discrimination

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