Apart from feeling mildly guilty at defecting from Tang history, another spinoff of my current decluttering is rediscovering random notes from my time editing and indexing volumes of The Cambridge History of China. I’ve already listed some jocular citations from Han and Tang history, so here’s a sequel with gems that I may not have sneaked into the indexes.
derivative ideas 693
Other, A.N., as consort of Wu-ti 174
pedantry, academic 758
reality: Hsün Yue criticises 806
supreme nothing, spiritual nothing 839
An Lushan the Man
beauty, no harem
Liang, Later dynasty; Liang, Even Later dynasty
wife, monopoly tax
* * *
Meanwhile, here are some out-takes from my index to the 1981 English translation of Henri Maspero’s Taoism and Chinese religion:
Eating Filthy Things
forgetting the body
sitting down and losing consciousness
vermin, buried in
* * *
I also discovered some more drôle pronouncements on Tang music—we can probably hazard a guess at their author:
“Secular, amnesic, notational dyslexia in the reading of post-13th century flute notations of Tōgaku pieces”
—apparently “people forgetting how to play old scores”:
Perhaps this was a piece in which interest was quickly lost, a piece picked up as an item of temporary fashionable interest, but for which no interest remained after the Chinese court itself had lost interest following the An Lushan rebellion.
Giggle we may, but this was just the kind of analytical detail on the Tang repertoire that I found so fruitful—in the days before my epiphany among the peasants of dusty north China villages.
Nature makes regular guest appearances:
The process occurs, however, no matter what the fermented vegetable substrata may be; and the title is not to be regarded necessarily as referring to wine from fermented grape-juice.
There can be no gainsaying the powerful atropaeic significance of the wild duck in East Asian folk belief.
On my penchant for wacky indexes, see The joys of indexing; Lexicon of musical invective; and my draft index to Nicolas Robertson’s outstanding series of anagram tales. For my early spoofs on Tang poetry (“precocious signs of the pointless inanity that was to distinguish my later writings”), click here. And do read Denis Twitchett’s informed spoof on An Lushan, and the faqu series (under A Tang mélange).