Friday 3/9/2018: Talk by Jason Protass, "The Poetry Demon: Literary Cultures of Monks in Song dynasty China"

The Columbia University Buddhist Studies Seminar, the Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion and the Columbia University Seminars present the following talk:

The Poetry Demon: Literary Cultures of Monks in Song dynasty China

Jason Protass
(Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University)

Friday, March 9th, 2018, 6:00 PM

Columbia University, Faculty House (Room TBD)


Buddhist monks in Song dynasty China were visited by a literary impulse that interrupted religious activities and ritual. This unwelcome muse was sometimes referred to as the demon of poetry. In this talk, I explore some lesser-known intersections of Chinese poetry and the Buddhist path. I read monks’ verse together with prescriptive texts that restricted literary activity, including legal codes, primers, and hagiography. I hypothesize that at the heart of monastic verse culture was the negotiation of competing commitments to Buddhist monasticism and to literary expression.


For directions to the Faculty House, see the following PDF: