The divided Liang Dynasty literary world seen through the Liu-Dao dispute

Wang Xiaomeng, Jing Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The tension between the literary styles of Liu Xiaochuo 劉孝綽 (481–539) and Dao Qia 到洽 (490–527) can be understood as a debate between poetic genius and a more scholarly focus, signaling a confrontation between the capital’s literary camps in the Putong reign 普通(520–527) of the Liang Dynasty 梁 (502–557). The major difference between the literary camps lies in the consideration given to natural poetic talent versus erudition in writings. When Xiao Gang 蕭綱 (503–551), Liu Xiaochuo’s supporter, became crown prince in 531, his own conflict with the scholarly group including Dao Gai 到溉 (477–548) and Zhu Yi 朱异 (483–540) probably prompted his “Letter to the Prince of Xiangdong” 與湘東王書 (Yu Xiangdong Wang shu). In this letter Xiao Gang displays his literary view deemphasizing scholarly learning and erudition in poetry. By comparison Xiao Yan 蕭衍 (464–549) and Xiao Yi 蕭繹 (508–555) valued scholarly learning still more and regarded literature as a relatively insignificant talent or minor accomplishment. Xiao Gang represents a departure—by placing literary talent above scholarship, he catered to the fashion among the Liang Dynasty’s nobility for reciting poetry and writing fu 賦 (rhapsody) while “rarely taking classical studies as their profession” 罕以經朮為業and thus elevated the social status of belles lettres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-286
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Chinese Literature and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Dao Qia 到洽 (490–527)
  • Liang Dynasty 梁 (502–557)
  • Literature
  • Liu Xiaochuo 劉孝綽 (481–539)
  • Split
  • Xiao Gang 蕭綱 (503–551)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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