In this paper, I intend to translate and critique a total of four poems plus a poetic preface collected in The Complete Works of Emperor Kangxi (康熙帝御制文集) that deal directly with the emperor’s military success of acquiring Taiwan: namely, "Heard the News of Victory on the Day of Mid-Autumn Festival [中秋日聞海上捷音]", "Composed Another Five-Character Quatrain on the Same Night Facing the Moon [是夜對月再成絕句]", "A Poem Given to Shi Lang, with a Preface [賜施琅詩 并序]", and "A Narrative about the Conquest of Taiwan in the Sacrificial Ceremony at the Tomb of Emperor Shunzhi [臺灣平吿祀孝陵有述]". Those poems are respectively written in various classic Chinese poetic forms including five-character quatrain (五言絕句) and seven-character regulated verse (七言律詩) of different lengths. My translation would base on the conventional English closed forms of fixed meters and rimes whenever applicable. While it is nearly impossible to transcribe the tonal sequences (平仄) of the original works, I will try to focus my efforts on mimicking the distinctive poetic structures, vocabulary, and rhyming schemes in order for the English readers to at least catch some flavor of those royal Chinese poems. My critique will mainly rely on two literary approaches: New Criticism and Historical Criticism. The former aims to carefully analyze the symbols, imagery, dictions, and structure in accordance with the themes of the work as a whole, thus evaluate its pure literary merits as a poem. The latter aims to compare and contrast the emperor’s thoughts about and military strategies toward the move of acquiring Taiwan as they are recorded in the official court documents and those as described in his poems, which hopefully could provide more perspectives about and gain better insights into this major military achievement in early Qing dynasty.
Sherman Han, Brigham Young University, United States
Stream: Language and Cultural Studies
This paper is part of the KAMC2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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