An American Orientalist

After much wrangling through the hazards of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, I’m on my way to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the American Oriental Society‘s Western Branch meeting. I’ll be presenting tomorrow (November 2, 2012) on “The Curious Case of Retriplication in the Poetry of Guànxiū (832-912).” Below is my abstract:

This presentation explores the strange occurrences of a single character being repeated three times in a row in the poetry of the Late Táng monk Guànxiū 貫休, a phenomenon given the neologism “retriplication.” First, a close reading of two Guànxiū poems, “Song of Bright Spring” (Yángchūn qǔ 陽春曲) and “Poems on Dwelling in the Mountains, #8” (Shānjū shī, qí bā 山居詩其八), is provided. As the repetitive phrase functions differently in the two poems, this leads to a classification of the various uses of retriplication in Guànxiū’s poetry, a classification achieved by looking at all seven instances to be found therein. Next, a listing is given of all instances of retriplication in extant pre-Sòng poetry, which reveals that this phenomenon appears to be unique to late Táng religious poets. Finally, several possible explanations are given for the exceptional circumstances in which retriplication is to be found.

If you’re interested in any of these ideas, or wish to use them, please contact me, and I’ll be happy to share more of my translations and analyses. Or at the very least, cite me.

I’ll be on a panel on Táng literature, chaired by Ding Xiang Warner. I’ll be presenting after my M.A. advisor Paul Kroll, Hong Yue, and Anna Shields. With the exception of Hong Yue, all are scholars whose works I’ve read (and admired). This is generally true of the AOS Western Branch meeting as a whole, which tends to be dominated by scholars of early and medieval China, especially those with a philological bent. I only hope to contribute something of value to this meeting, and not be just another grad student whose mediocre ideas are soon forgotten.

2 thoughts on “An American Orientalist

  1. Dear Mr. Mazanec:
    Hope you have an interesting time at the meeting. I, for one, am interested in your presentation, and this is surely going to be a shared feeling in Scottsdale.

    By the way, don’t forget to congratulate on my behalf doctor Warner for her superb volume on Wang Ji (I’ve been able to buy and enjoy it this year) and professor Kroll for a very hard to find volume he has on Meng Hao-jan (by Twayne’s) that makes me crave for more books of his.

    Cheers, and have a nice time!

  2. Hey there, Manuel. Thanks for your interest and your well-wishes. If you’d like to see my handout of translations or the script of my talk, send me an email at, and I’ll gladly share. It was a great conference, and I received much good feedback about how to develop this project.

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