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Scenery and Imagination:Multiple Representations of the Poetry Society and Garden Tradition in the Qing Dynasty

HU Meimei;School of Chinese Studies and Exchange, Shanghai International Studies University;  
The garden has a long tradition of literati gatherings and is an important space for ancient poets to host the poetry society. The poetry society in gardens in the Qing dynasty was guided by the Xiyuan(west garden) Gathering in the Song dynasty, and gradually prospered through the promotion and response of local poet groups. The tradition formed by the association between gardens and literary activities showed three forms through the poetry society in the Qing dynasty. To begin with, as a physical space, the construction and renovation of the garden provides opportunities and venues for gatherings. The garden symbolizes the third way of life between detachment and attachment, and promotes the transition from political society to literary society in the Qing dynasty. Furthermore, as a cultural symbol, the poetry society in gardens assume the function of revitalizing and promoting local culture. The garden is symbolized through the accumulation and substitution of a series of poetry societies, and the gathering is free from the constraints of specific space. Garden symbols also contribute to the construction of literary imagination and fictional narration in poetry creation. Finally, the garden tradition can be reproduced and continued through the creation of images and poetry in poetry society. The poetry society puts gardens, painting and literature on the same discourse platform. The garden tradition lies between concrete and abstract, enriching the ways of organizing poetry society in the Qing dynasty, and it is also the result of gathering and writing to enrich the connotation of the garden.
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