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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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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

Alcoholism and Song Literati

Alcoholism and Song Literati

(p.135) 8 Alcoholism and Song Literati
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

Edwin Van Bibber-Orr

University of Hawai'i Press

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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