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Chapter Summary

Ho Ching-ming's penchant for giving his friends high-minded advice was soon to reach even greater heights. Within a few months of Hou Yi-cheng's departure for Tung-ch'ang came an exchange of letters between Li Meng-yang and Ho that has become one of the known incidents in either man's life. In order to understand the letters and the significance they came to take on, we need to step out of the biographical stream to consider the Archaist ideal in Chinese literature as the context within which the letters take their place. It is important to recognise as well that, however important the ideas they contain, what led to the letters actually being written and sent was a matter of human emotions, especially on Li's part. Ho's letter had been, if not compliant, certainly polite, often even deferential. Li's replies are more painful documents to read, as they no doubt were to write.

Keywords: Archaist ideal; Chinese literature; Ho Ching-ming; Hou Yi-cheng; Li Meng-yang; Tung-ch'ang



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