During the literary revolution, Hu Shi 胡適 (1891–1962) advocated the concept of natural rhythm, emphasizing the liberation of sound and the segmentation of meaning. Since 1919, his writings have attracted a great number of writers to reconceptualize the meaning and function of poetry and language. This study reviews critical discussions of the relationships among sound, meaning, and poetry by a number of Chinese scholars, from Tang Yue 唐鉞 (1891–1987) and Hu Pu'an 胡樸安 (1878–1947), to Chen Shih-hsiang 陳世驤 (1912–71), among others. Their discussions of rhythm and the relation it has to emotion and motion have yet to attract enough critical attention in the English-speaking world. This article explains how these scholars built on or challenged Hu Shi's findings to provide new ways of assessing the production of sound and meaning in Chinese language and literature.

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