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Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China$
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N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867812

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.001.0001

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Alcoholism and Song Literati

Alcoholism and Song Literati

Chapter:
(p.135) 8 Alcoholism and Song Literati
Source:
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China
Author(s):

Edwin Van Bibber-Orr

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.003.0008

Crystallized in the alterity of an ancient Chinese past, alcohol use and abuse have often in the field of sinology become synonymous with romanticized literati affect: Tao Qian’s 陶潛‎ (365-427)’s “Twenty Poems on Drinking” and Li Bai 李白‎’s (701-762) “Drinking Alone Under the Moon” come immediately to mind. This glorification has precipitated a blind spot regarding the self-destructive effects of alcoholism in Chinese cultural history. Through an analysis of Song encyclopedia, anecdotes, and medical texts, I uncover a Song discourse on alcoholism: shijiu嗜酒‎. Reading poems of Mei Yaochen 梅堯臣‎ (1002-1060) and Yang Wanli 楊萬里‎ (1127-1206), the chapter reveals personal accounts of these literati’s struggles to stop drinking (zhijiu止酒‎). To define alcoholism, I employ the diagnostic criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5 (DSM-V), evincing the presence of five distinct diagnostic criteria of “Alcohol Use Disorder” amongst Song literati.

Keywords:   song, literati, alcoholism, alcohol use disorder, Mei Yaochen 梅堯臣, Yang Wanli 楊萬里, poetry

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