Yuan Haowen's Thirty Poems on Poetry was an important work of pre-modern Chinese literary theory. However, a line from the 23rd poem, which reads “unorthodox learning and tales are deceiving”, has received scant commentary and discussion in existing scholarship. Most works on the history of Chinese literary criticism have also overlooked this line. In fact, the line addresses the use of allusion in the poems of Song poets like Su Shi and Huang Tingjian. The erudite scholars and poets of the Song dynasty were inclined to engage extensively with tales and favored emplying unconventional allusions in their poems. Consequently, tales and unorthodox learning became significant sources of poetic allusion, a trend notably exemplified by Su Shi and Huang Tingjian. However, during the Southern Song and Jin dynasties, scholars like Yuan Haowen began to critique this stylistic approach.


tale (xiaoshuo), allusion (diangu), Yuan Haowen, Song-dynasty poetry, unorthodox learning (quxue)

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