In this special issue devoted to Song Dynasty literature and culture, it hardly comes as a surprise that three of the eight articles take the indomitable Su Shi as their subject. To say that Su Shi is a towering figure of the age seems almost an understatement. That three of our authors chose to write about him was not, incidentally, something arranged by this guest editor, or even anticipated. It is simply something that happened. But that it “just happened” without prior arrangement points nicely to Su's special place in Song literature and culture as we now think of it.

Yet the three articles on Su Shi are not ordinary contributions to the vast field of Su Shi studies. They may also be thought of in a different way. To begin with, none of them addresses the most obvious topics in that...

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