Time and Space Metaphors in Li Bai’s “Shu-Dao Nan”

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Time and Space Metaphors in LI Bai’s “Shu-dao Nan” (Risky Road to Sichuan) -------------------------------------------------

Vanessa Cai
Course:Psychological, Mythological and Archetypal Approaches to Literature Date: 2012/5/10

Generally acknowledged that LI Bai created “Shu-dao Nan” approximately in 742-744 BC, Changan, the capital city of Tang Dynasty, for his friend WANG Yan who prepared to go to Sichuan. LI Bai warned his friend to return to Changan as early as possible, if not, might be calumniated by evildoers. “Shu” is an antonomasia of Sichuan. In “Shu-dao Nan”, LI Bai exaggeratedly described the strategically located and difficult of access of Sichuan. And he combined mythologies and his amazing imagination to express the emotion of revered and loved in country land. The entire distribution of “Shu-dao Nan” was followed the timeline, from ancient times to the present (Tang Dynasty), and the space, from Qin to Shu. In this paper, will focus on analyzing the time and space metaphors in “Shu-dao Nan”.

At the beginning, LI Bai dated back to the remote history, cited the founding mythologies of “Can Cong” and “Yu Fu” that they were the legendary kings of ancient Shu and found Shu Dynasties. There was an exaggerative description of time in the following line,“尔来四万八千岁,不与秦塞通人烟”, “forty-eight thousand years” described that the time of our ancestors to access to Shu was too much to count. Shu was isolated for many uncountable years because of its difficulty of access. “Forty-eight thousand years” was an indirect foil of Shu’s hard approaching. When the way from Xianyang, the capital city of Qin, to Shu was experienced many years and countless hard-working trailblazers, it was exploited.

Following the order of the description of the way to Shu in “Shu-dao Nan”, the scene where should reach firstly from Qin to Shu was the Taibai Mountain. “西当太白有鸟道,可以横绝峨眉巅”, even if for the flying birds, were hard to...
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