Thinking Things: The Material Turn in Song (960-1279) Literary Culture
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationMai, Huijun. 2020. Thinking Things: The Material Turn in Song (960-1279) Literary Culture. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Abstract“Thinking Things: the Material Turn in Song Literary Culture” delineates the dimensions of Song “discourse on things.” It examines canonical literary texts alongside noncanonical writings that are traditionally excluded from literature proper. These noncanonical texts range from catalogues explaining the microcosmic worlds of flowers and insects, to anthropomorphic biographies narrating the social life of artifacts; and from cookbooks re-creating exotic flavors, to menus preserving the ephemeral sensory experiences. These texts showcase that some writers engaged with objects and material experiences as a way to rearrange their political and cultural capital; some played with fabrication of lives of objects to negotiate their own social boundaries; yet some, by creating a community of friends made of symbolic and familiar objects, curated identities of themselves. In doing so, I demonstrate how writing constantly inscribed, revised, and re-inscribed meanings and values on things and material experiences, while material experiences also redefined the Song culture and sensibility. But the discourse on things, I argue, indexed a much larger epistemological shift beyond the literary domain. It signaled what I call the “material turn,” in which objects and materiality became sites of vibrant intellectual and literary innovations. I further suggest a way of thinking about the material turn as abroad epistemological shift characterized by attempts of bringing together general wisdom and knowledge of particulars, through linguistic play. Ultimately the material turn signaled, more importantly, a new way of knowing that was associated with the sense of taste, which the idea of “rumination” offered a good illustration. The Song literati were thinking through issues of materiality and material experience: there, things were not simply objects of knowledge or objects of desires, more importantly, as I teased out in this dissertation, engaging things as new ways of knowing and new ways of being.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365702
- FAS Theses and Dissertations