BEIJING FOREIGN

STUDIES UNIVERSITY

发愤著书 Fafen-zhushu

This term means suffering injustice in life can spur one to create great works. It originated from the “Preface by the Grand Historian toRecords of the Historian.” After Sima Qian, an official in the Western Han Dynasty, suffered the unjust punishment of castration, his indignation spurred him to write the great work,Records of the Historian. In the book he gave expression to his thoughts, feelings, and aspirations, which made the book a classic for later generations. The expression “indignation spurs one to write great works” was used to explain one of the motivations and reasons for creating masterpieces. It points to the fact that injustice suffered by an author often turns out to be the source of inspiration for him to write a literary masterpiece. It later led to similar terms like “Where there is injustice there will be an expression of indignation” and “Frustration inspires poets to write fine poems.”

Citations

I am saddened that my frank remonstration with the king has brought false accusation on me and left me in exile. In anguish and indignation, I am writing these poems to express my strong feelings. (Qu Yuan:Collection of Nine Pieces)

Most of the 300 poems in The Book of Songs were written by sages who were in anguish and indignation. They were depressed over what had prevented them from fulfilling their aspirations, so they composed poems about what had happened in the hope that future generations would understand them.(Sima Qian:A Letter of Reply to Ren An)

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