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Journal Of The American Oriental Society


While the topos of reclusion was ubiquitous in the scholar-official culture of traditional China, there was already in medieval sources a discernible differentiation between essentiality and semblance, between bona fide men in reclusion and men who took office, between reclusion per se and its synthetic translation into the political, intellectual, and literary repertoire of the scholar-official. Men recognized as having practiced reclusion as a way of life categorically eschewed official appointments. Many scholar-officials espoused precepts ordinarily associated with reclusion, but on an occasional or purely noetic basis; their conduct, rationale, and writings evince the entrenchment of topoi of reclusion within the scholar-official ethos, but do not evince the ethos of reclusion.


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