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Journal Of The American Oriental Society


In early medieval China great attention was paid to compiling accounts of men in reclusion, yet the prefaces to these compilations often contain only vague or stale reasoning concerning the nature of reclusion itself. A preface by Shen Yue (441-513) is a notable exception: Shen differentiated between "disengagement" and "reclusion." A slightly later contemporary of Shen, Ruan Xiaoxu (479-536), took issue with him in a unique and tightly constructed disquisition on what Ruan saw as a basic dichotomy in the Way of man: "the root" and "overt traces." Ruan's overlooked treatise is examined here, as are some relevant facets of his life.


This work is freely available courtesy of the American Oriental Society.