Xun Can was also highly aesthetic in his ideals of love, believing that beauty mattered more than talent or helpfulness. But he spent most of his time 'in entertainment' with his Lady Cao; when she died, he grieved over her so passionately that he died very shortly afterward.
Dong Zhou wrote:I doubt being seen as an ally of Jia Chong helped Xun Xu's rep in the aftermath of Jin's fall
Dong Zhou wrote:Xun Can was also highly aesthetic in his ideals of love, believing that beauty mattered more than talent or helpfulness. But he spent most of his time 'in entertainment' with his Lady Cao; when she died, he grieved over her so passionately that he died very shortly afterward.
As I understand it, his mourning was met with much disapproval though I wonder if his death might have had more to do with his efforts to heal her. I have heard different versions of what Xun Can meant with his comments about beauty
WeiWenDi wrote:That's what Goodman seems to think. Certainly from a Confucian point of view, Xun Can's entire comportment was wildly disproportionate; and probably deliberately so, since he enjoyed being a philosophical provocateur. He publicly criticised his own father and praised his uncle. And then, mourning beyond all measure for his wife to the neglect of his family and possibly his own health, would have been seen as irresponsible at best and exhibitionist and self-seeking at worst.
Dong Zhou wrote:I don't deny, from what limited I know, Xun Can rather enjoyed being provocative (I mean who would say the Xun Yu type thing to your siblings?). With his wife comment (however one interprets the exact meaning), there may be an element of defensiveness about a woman he seemed to love being slagged off for not conforming to standards. I suspect his health may have been sheltered before she died anyway (rolling around in snow nightly is not great for one's health I imagine), certainly any recovery he was going to make was not helped by his mourning and possible depression.
I do think that his rivals don't come out too well in modern day sensibilities: anti-love, anti-loving someone who doesn't confirm to modesty, anti-mourning. I do see where they come from bar the second one, trying to get Xun Can to concentrate on work more or trying to rally him (I probably wouldn't have insulted the just dead wife in doing so) and there is something about someone mourning themselves to death that one either sees as a romantic or giving up.
Sorry, Dong, didn't respond to you before posting the above.
I wouldn't say Xun Can's brothers were 'anti-love', though, at least not in this particular treatment of them. They certainly valued different things in women, and were probably more moralistic (or possibly pragmatic) than romantic. They would probably defend themselves by saying love has to be properly ordered, and loving one's parents has to take precedence.
Whether or not Xun Can was depressed over his wife's death, and died as a result? That's certainly a valid interpretation - and the reaction from his friends and family wasn't likely to have helped matters much - though I'd also say your psychoanalysis of a long-dead historical somewhat-obscure Chinese xuanxue scholar is as good as mine.
Xu Yuan wrote:I'd heard of this book before and it always seemed rather interesting, but I've never really gone further than that. Thank you for the summaries though, it is interesting to see life from the perspective of a man on the fringes of the court to become one of the main influences of the new regime. Also it is about the descendant of my personal personage of the era (with Liu Yu a close second).
I find it interesting that the Xun's quickly flocked to the Sima banner and it makes a good deal of sense that they would hold resent after Xun Yu's mysterious death after Xun Yu spoke out against Cao Cao's planned ascension.
Dong Zhou wrote:No problem.
For the record, I wouldn't have argued the Cao's were Legalist but simply borrowed elements from that, Confucianism and quite frankly, whatever was practical. I would maintain that the Cao's had a tendency to be free thinking and radical in private but could be... traditionalist in public life. Cao Rui particularly.
Your first paragraph on chapter 3 doesn't surprise me, it makes sense. Just hadn't thought about it much
Dong Zhou wrote:I don't think they were anti-love either. The wording can, and may indeed have been, seem snobbish in "not the right type of girl" (I personally quite like the theory that she inherited her father's temper and that was a big part of the disapproval) but that is hardly something modern society is innocent of. I just think the initial impression, which I certainly had, looks bad for the Confucian scholars but I do see where they come from now.
Dong Zhou wrote:I simply think it was harsh that Xun Can got hit for "mourning to death" as there are a number of reasons he could have died (wrecked body, simple matter of natural causes, time travelling murder) but the Chinese had a point in that one's frame of mind affects health. He could well have mourned himself into bad health and death and I'm open to that. Nowadays, that could make a good tragic movie though
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