SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Schlepp, Wayne (1964) The technique and imagery of Yuan san-ch'u. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (74MB)


In the following analysis of forty-six songs I have attempted to describe the genre of san-ch'u as it was practised by writers of the Yuan Dynasty. To accomplish this I felt the most significant points were technique of composition and the manner in which it produced effective imagery. Although critical appraisal is an inevitable part of any analysis, here it is used as often to shed light on the appreciation of a song within the original circum-stances of its composition and performance as it is to make general comparisons with other poetry. I felt it legitimate to praise songs that are interesting as poems but have usually qualified any criticism of those that are not good by modern critical standards because it is often our lack of essential information, specifically the music to which it was written, that makes some san-ch'u appear mediocre to us now. To have judged the songs solely as poetry would have given a distorted view of the genre as it existed in the Yuan Dynasty. In every way as essential as the description of san-ch'u is the need to outline certain aspects of poetic composition that are characteristic of san-ch'u and Chinese poetry in general, aspects that a Chinese reader is able to take for granted but without an understanding of which a foreign student of Chinese poetry can hardly progress beyond the meanings of words alone. Although a great share of the work has taken the form of studies in technique, i.e. metre, rhyme, colour, repetition patterning and figuration, I have aimed at seeking out and remarking on the poetic effects and imagery that the various techniques are able to produce.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:07

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item