The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons

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The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons (Chinese: 文心雕龍; pinyin: Wén Xīn Diāo Lóng) is a highly influential work on Chinese literary aesthetics. Dating from the 5th century, its author, Liu Xie, composed the work in fifty chapters (篇) according to the principles of numerology and divination found in the Book of Changes or I Ching. The work also draws on and argues against the 3rd century author Lu Ji's work the Wen fu文賦 ("On Literature"). Liu Xie wished to give a complete and internally consistent account of literature. Among his contributions is his remarkable notion that affections are literally the medium of literature, and language merely the product.


  • Liu Xie (1983). The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. Translated by Vincent Yu-chung Shih. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press – via
  • Liu Xie (2003). Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind. Translated by Yang Guobin. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.


  • A Chinese literary mind: culture, creativity and rhetoric in Wenxin Diaolong, 2001 (Zong-qi Cai, ed.).
  • Owen, Stephen. Readings in Chinese literary thought. No. 30. Harvard Univ Asia Center, 1992.

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