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25 November 2023, Volume 43 Issue 6 Previous Issue   
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Special Issue on “The Study and Implementation of the Spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress”
Special Issue on “The Study and Implementation of the Spirit of the 21th CPC National Congress”
Special Issue on “The Study and Implementation of the Spirit of the 22th CPC National Congress”
Xi Jinping's Discussion on Literary and Art Innovation
Zhao Yanqiu, Fan Xiang
2023, 43 (6):  10-14. 
Abstract ( 19 )   PDF (3387KB) ( 44 )  
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Ancient Literary Theory and Theoretical Studies of Ancient Literature
On the Genre of Shushi
Wang Oinghua
2023, 43 (6):  15-27. 
Abstract ( 23 )   PDF (1270KB) ( 64 )  
Shushi (literally, writing miscellanea), a form of narrative writing, emerged since the Tang and Song dynasties as a relatively independent genre affiliated to “titles and postscripts” and “miscellaneous writing.” It shared commonalities with miscellaneous notes and writings, as they all consisted of comments and critiques on events, with some precisely narrating about individuals and occurrences. The term shushi was influenced by conceptualizations in historical studies and the genre of “narrative poems.” During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the production of shushi flourished to the extent that it evolved into a distinct genre characterized by strong narrative elements. The majority of shushi writings focused on narrating about people and events. These writings began to increase in length, and their inclination toward depicting figures and selecting resources became akin to biographical genres. As one of the most adaptable genres in the Ji sector of classical writings, shushi had strong connection with miscellaneous writings that were “narrations about certain events.” In terms of meticulously recording individuals and engaging with fiction, it also shared many correlations with the fictional essays that originated in the Wei-Jin dynasties.
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An Examination of Liu Shipei's Writing Model and Theory of Parallel Prose
Zhang Mingqiang
2023, 43 (6):  28-37. 
Abstract ( 23 )   PDF (1596KB) ( 43 )  
Liu Shipei's academic framework was deeply rooted in both traditional Chinese scholarship, learning centered around his familial heritage and the Yangzhou School, and Western intellectual traditions, emphasizing evolutionism and logic. These two dimensions shaped Liu Shipei's academic thought, and the belief in the mutual influence of Western and Chinese culture significantly impacted his research methodologies. During the late Qing and early Republican eras, Liu viewed scholarship as a tool of statecraft and integrated scholarship into political discourse. This process gave rise to a utilitarian approach to academic pursuits and the “idea-evidence-idea” model of writing. Additionally, Liu Shipei synthesized Ling Tingkan's and Ruan Yuan's theories on parallel prose, providing an in-depth exposition on the Yangzhou School's theory of parallel prose. By incorporating Western nominalism and evolutionism he refined the orthodox understanding of parallel prose unveiling its distinctiveness. As the integrator of parallel prose theory from the Yangzhou School in the Qing dynasty and a fervent advocate in modern times, Liu played a pivotal role in transitioning the study of parallel prose from tradition to modernity.
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On the Wholeness, Thematic Origins and Retro Value of Chen Zi'ang's “Emotional Impressions”
Zhao Xiaohua
2023, 43 (6):  38-48. 
Abstract ( 33 )   PDF (1601KB) ( 25 )  
Chen Zi'ang's collection of thirty-eight poems, titled “Emotional Impressions,” carries on the tradition of Han-dynasty scholars' verses on unrecognized talents. It offers a systematic and rational reflection on the relationship between time, talent and destiny through the lenses of nature, history and custom. These seemingly disparate topics converge under the motif of underappreciated scholars abilities, creating a highly cohesive and thematic whole. At the same time, concerns about tradition and governance lie at the core of his lamentations about unacknowledged talents. Even in his seclusion, Chen Zi'ang's heart remained tied to the imperial court, and he subtly conveyed his vision of governance through critiques of contemporary reality. This reflected the Confucian value of life that scholars should bear a responsibility for the state of the world. Consequently, Chen Zi'ang's vision of poetic antiquity is connected from his concept of political antiquity. The thirty-eight poems of “Emotional Impressions” not only resurrect the formal structure of ancient poetry of the Han and Wei dynasties, but also rekindle the spirit of scholars, solidify the fundamental content, and establish the creative purpose of poetic antiquity in the Tang dynasty. They stand as an important spiritual guide for the resurgence of ancient literature in the mid-Tang dynasty.
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Tales, Allusions and Poetry: From a Line on Unorthodox Allusion in Yuan Haowen's Thirty Poems on Poetry
Luo Ning
2023, 43 (6):  49-60. 
Abstract ( 24 )   PDF (1626KB) ( 30 )  
Yuan Haowen's Thirty Poems on Poetry was an important work of pre-modern Chinese literary theory. However, a line from the 23rd poem, which reads “unorthodox learning and tales are deceiving”, has received scant commentary and discussion in existing scholarship. Most works on the history of Chinese literary criticism have also overlooked this line. In fact, the line addresses the use of allusion in the poems of Song poets like Su Shi and Huang Tingjian. The erudite scholars and poets of the Song dynasty were inclined to engage extensively with tales and favored emplying unconventional allusions in their poems. Consequently, tales and unorthodox learning became significant sources of poetic allusion, a trend notably exemplified by Su Shi and Huang Tingjian. However, during the Southern Song and Jin dynasties, scholars like Yuan Haowen began to critique this stylistic approach.
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The “De-homogenizing” Writing of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio in Classical Chinese Fictions during the Qing Dynasty
Zhang Jiaojing
2023, 43 (6):  61-70. 
Abstract ( 33 )   PDF (1593KB) ( 31 )  
Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio had a great influence on the development of classical Chinese fiction during the Qing dynasty, and some later works would inevitably fell into a pattern of “homogenization” due to its influence. Therefore, “de-homogenization” emerged as an important approach for later generations to innovate on the texts and showcase their artistic pursuits. In the process of “de-homogenization”, novelists either attempted to alter the details of the works, immerse themselves in clarifying and grounding the ambiguity into reality, or reverse the existing plot trends of the fictions. Such diverse “de-homogenizing” writing not only injected new vigor and vitality into the creation of classical Chinese fiction during the Qing dynasty but also achieved varying degrees of breakthrough and transcendence beyond Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio to different degrees.
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Issue in Focus: Modern and Contemporary Literary Theory and Cultural Studies
The First Cry of Call to Arms and Related Topics: From Nostalgia to Diary of a Madman
Li Chen, Guo Chunlin
2023, 43 (6):  71-81. 
Abstract ( 24 )   PDF (1660KB) ( 27 )  
There has been little discussion in the academic world as to why the first cry of Call to Arms is Diary of a Madman. To address this question, we must delve in to Lu Xun's emotional-spiritual framework and thought-generating process, which he honed as a witness to and participant in the enlightenment and revolution of the late Qing dynasty. Additionally, we need to examine Lu Xun's understanding of the social structure of the late Qing and early Republican periods, as well as his methods of textual development. Written in 1911, Nostalgia already presented Lu Xun's unique perspectives on social structure quite comprehensively, while Diary of a Madman, traditionally regarded as an enlightenment text, contained multiple internal structures that have yet to be fully explored. Lu Xun employed the distinctive format of the madman's diary to condense these multiple internal structures into the most concise literary form, thereby exploring new directions, content and forms for enlightenment and revolution.
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From “Rewriting Lu Xun” to “Patricide”: Historical Investigation into and Reflection on Chinese American Scholars' Criticisms of Lu Xun
Li Shi
2023, 43 (6):  82-90. 
Abstract ( 25 )   PDF (1245KB) ( 25 )  
Since the 1960s, Chinese American scholars' criticisms of Lu Xun have experienced a paradigm shift from aesthetic criticism and biographical criticism to deconstructive criticism, forming a homogeneous relationship with the development of American literary criticism. Especially from the 1990s onwards, under the influence of postmodernism and postcolonialism, Chinese American scholars have critically revisited the issue of “origin” and “totality”, which registers a general tendency of radical “patricide”. They strategically consider Lu Xun, “father of modern Chinese literature”, as a symbol of nationalism, and deconstruct Lu Xun's authorial intention with a skeptical stance, consequently reversing the power relations between writers and critics. Although the theoretical expansion of globalization continues to promote the theorization and diversification of Chinese American scholars' criticisms of Lu Xun, it also threatens to lead to the arbitrariness of critical power and other disadvantages such as overinterpretation, theoretical homogeneity and neglect of literary facts, which require critical reflection on the epistemological level.
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Chinese Neo-sensationalists' Reception and Transformation of Junichiro Tanizaki's Literary Works: A History of Reading Centering on Liu Naou's Diary
Gao Shimeng
2023, 43 (6):  91-101. 
Abstract ( 22 )   PDF (7934KB) ( 40 )  
The neo-sensationalist literary orientation of Shi Zhecun, Liu Naou and Mu Shiying basically took shape between 1926 and 1928, before they became the school known as “Chinese Neo-sensationalists”. In addition to overlapping literary interests, Liu Naou's reading tastes contributed to the shaping of other members' early literary views. Liu Naou's diary in 1927 and neo-sensationalist works show that aestheticism, especially Junichiro Tanizaki's literary works, connected their interests. The group's reception of Tanizaki's work was intertwined with personal aesthetics and social concerns; their motivation was generally outward rather than inward. The shared preference for Tanizaki not only unified Chinese Neo-sensationalists, but also shaped their creative direction and underlay the basic character of the group. However, due to the relatively restrained use of aestheticist and decadent elements, the Chinese Neo-sensationalists' reception of Tanizaki's literary works was also limited.
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The Introduction of “Inspiration” from Transliteration to Translation in Chinese Context
Huang Yunxia, He Changsheng
2023, 43 (6):  102-110. 
Abstract ( 36 )   PDF (1596KB) ( 64 )  
Due to the influence of different cultural contexts, the process of foreign terms entering the Chinese context is often accompanied by “variation”. The semantic evolution of “inspiration” in the translation process serves as a typical example. The Japanese transliteration of romaji (innsubiresyo) follows the translation of ancient Greek-Latin languages. While Liang Qichao's Chinese transliteration of the word implies a potential contradiction between “availability to all” and “unique genius”, it allows for a broad scope of reinterpretation within the Chinese context. The translation as Linggan gradually establishes a connection and transformation with categories such as “sensation” in traditional Chinese culture, while dispelling the mystery of God or spirit. Furthermore, by delving into the psychological processes that generate “inspiration” and its real-life sources, a foundational knowledge model of “inspiration” as a technical term in literary and artistic theory has finally been constructed. It is worth emphasizing that the purpose of clarifying the concept in translation is not to alter its meaning, as such shifts inherently suggest numerous possibilities for new ideas and scholarship.
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Issue in Focus: Phenomenological Literary Criticism
A Study of the Development of Merleau-Ponty's Theory of Perspective Drawing
Zhang Xiaodong
2023, 43 (6):  111-121. 
Abstract ( 21 )   PDF (2122KB) ( 27 )  
The function of representing reality through linear perspective and perspective drawing has been questioned since the rise of contemporary Western paintings. In the early stage of his career, Merleau-Ponty believed that linear perspective was a product of objective thinking, and that it cut off the line of intention between the body-subject and the perceived world, turning the live object into a concrete lifeless entity. As he moved on to explore the expressive behavior of body-subject, Merleau-Ponty gradually recognized that linear perspective was not equal to mechanical reproduction and the essence of perspective drawing was the hidden transformation of the perceived world through body perception and expression. Despite multiple defects in the perception of perspective, perspective drawing manages to achieve a true expression of the perceived world by establishing a system of equivalence. In his later works, from the dimension of ontology of flesh, Merleau-Ponty further confirmed the truthfulness of perspective drawing in representing the perceived world. He admitted that perspective drawing might be regarded as a special case and a phase in the presentations of Being, and yet such approaches were insufficient in expressing the depth of Being. In short, Merleau-Ponty demonstrated the authenticity of perspective drawing convincingly from the perspective of body perception and sorted out the relationship between perspective drawing and modern painting. However, he tended to overemphasize the phenomenological purport of painting and underplayed the technical dimension of creative painting.
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From Philosophization of Literature to Literalization of Philosophy: Revisiting Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Thought on the Affinity between Literature and Philosophy
Cui Xinxin
2023, 43 (6):  122-129. 
Abstract ( 25 )   PDF (1362KB) ( 52 )  
The intermeaving of philosophy into literature runs through Maurice Merleau-Ponty's thought. From his perspective, literature is the expression of existence rather than a tool for the conception of his phenomenological philosophy. In the course of Merleau-Ponty's thought, the interweaving of literature and philosophy presents a dual orientation and evolutional trajectory from philosophization of literature to literalization of philosophy, which corresponds to his creative opinion on the relationship between literature and philosophy in the dimension of concept and discourse, and reflects his approach to constructing metaphysical criticism and perceptual phenomenology. Expression and metaphor play significant roles in this interwoven relationship. Attempting to innovate on philosophical terms through metaphor in his later texts, Merleau-Ponty manages to ease the tension between philosophical concepts and discourses, providing an effective way to eliminate the idealistic remnants in the early perceptual theory and achieving self-consistency within his own theory.
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From Imitating Reality to Producing Reality: Heidegger's Phenomenology of Art and Modern Art
Dai Siyu
2023, 43 (6):  130-137. 
Abstract ( 32 )   PDF (1041KB) ( 32 )  
German art historian Max Imdahl suggests that Cézanne's artistic creation is not an activity of “imitating object”, but an activity of “producing object”. As early as the 1930s, German philosopher Martin Heidegger had already proposed in “The Origin of the Work of Art” that art was not an imitation of reality, but a production of reality. This paper takes the concept of “production” as an approach to understanding Heidegger's phenomenology of art, and focuses on his late thought on modern art, especially on the art of Paul Cézanne and Paul Klee. This paper intends to show a possible dialogue between Heideggers artistic thought and the modern art and art theory.
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Issue in Focus: Studies of Art History
Conceptual Transmutation and Landscape Perspective: A New Interpretation of “Scattered Perspective” in Comparative Visions of the East and the West
Li Sen
2023, 43 (6):  138-150. 
Abstract ( 27 )   PDF (2155KB) ( 19 )  
Scattered perspective is a modern conceptualization of the spatial features of traditional Chinese painting that has had a significant impact in China. This essay investigates relevant concepts such as “perspective” and “scattered point” to delve into the evolutionary origins of the “scattered-point perspective.” Scattered perspective does not particularly involve a scientific foundation in terms of optics or geometry. Rather, it integrates two contradictory Western concepts to represent the compositional experience of Chinese painting, which is theoretically akin to the traditional Chinese concepts of “San Yuan,” “Small by Near and Big in the Distance,” and “You Guan.” The fundamental disparity between the Chinese and Western painting perspectives lies not in the explicit comparison between “scattered perspective” and “focal perspective.” Instead, their distinction is rooted in the respective aesthetic attitudes towards comparable non-perspective landscapes as well as the resulting disparities in the details of their paintings. A careful examination of the “scattered perspective” within the broader context of art history is a useful tool for fostering Sino-West dialogue and showcasing the distinctive aesthetic pursuit of Chinese painting.
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The Veneration of Wang Xizhi and the Formation of Confucian Calligraphic Orthodoxy
Zhang Xingcheng
2023, 43 (6):  151-162. 
Abstract ( 23 )   PDF (1245KB) ( 18 )  
The veneration of Wang Xizhi has shaped the aesthetic spirit, belief system and academic traditions of Chinese calligraphy since the Tang dynasty. It has also significantly transformed the imagination and understanding of calligraphy in the pre-Tang era. The imperative to integrate politics, culture, and education during the early Tang dynasty, along with the Southern influence on Confucianism, literature, and the arts, served as the historical backdrop for Emperor Taizong's proposal to honor Wang Xizhi. Emperor Taizong's composition, “On Wang Xizhi,” crafted with both running and cursive inscriptions, established Wang Xizhi as an exemplar embodying a harmonious fusion of aesthetics and morality. This was not only reflective of the emperor's own aesthetic preferences but also instrumental in driving calligraphy reform through the influence of Wang Xizhi's calligraphy. Since the Tang dynasty, the emulation and replication of the calligraphic masterpieces of Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi, along with the gradual development of Wang Xizhi's image in the history of calligraphy and intellectual history, coupled with the influence of the Neo-Confucianism orthodoxy during the Song and Ming dynasties, the system of transmission and reception centered around Wang Xizhi has continuously expanded. This has further solidified Wang Xizhi's esteemed position as a master in the history of calligraphy and finally established a Confucian calligraphic orthodoxy dominated by the cultural elites and based on the veneration of saints and classics.
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The Sacred Land in the Mountains: The Spatial Narrative of “Pavilion” in Traditional Chinese Landscape Painting
Wang Tianle
2023, 43 (6):  163-170. 
Abstract ( 30 )   PDF (1210KB) ( 47 )  
In traditional Chinese landscape painting, the “pavilion” serves a unique role as a spatial indicator and narrative element. The “grass pavilion” and the “empty pavilion”, both integral components of the classical pavilion imagery, encapsulate the aesthetic philosophies and perspectives of ancient scholars. These classic depictions of the pavilion not only convey the humanistic ideals of the scholars but also imbue traditional landscape painting with profound meaning. As a symbol of human presence and geographical location, the pavilion guides the viewers in their spatial imaginings and entrances them into a metaphorical realm cherished by scholars. It creates an excellent vantage point and viewing experience, offering painters and viewers alike the best platform for contemplation and visual anticipation. Simultaneously, the “pavilion” also unveils itself while capturing the essence of the world. In doing so, it transforms into a “holy land” within the mountains, shedding light on the solitary disposition of nature cherished by scholars. As a symbolic spatial element, the empty pavilion fortifies the echoes of the past and the illusion of memory. Gazing upon the pavilion hints at the cultural identity of the viewer, collectively contributing to the rich tapestry of meaning within landscape painting.
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Issue in Focus: Studies on Aesthetics and Ethics
The Construction of the Possibility of “Moral Beauty” in Analytic Aesthetics
Li Zhen, Shen Yubing
2023, 43 (6):  171-182. 
Abstract ( 17 )   PDF (1306KB) ( 23 )  
Philosophers' enduring fascination with the concept of moral beauty has persisted from ancient Greece through the 19th century. However, analytic aestheticians, from a cognitivist standpoint, often regard “moral beauty” as a mere metaphorical expression or even dismiss it as a “categorical mistake.” The dawn of the 21st century witnessed a fresh wave of analytic aestheticians who embarked on a reevaluation of the age-old subject of moral beauty. They sought to establish its rationality within the framework of analytic aesthetics. To illustrate the aesthetic properties of moral qualities, scholars have presented three types of arguments: the “indirect argument” proposed by Berys Gaut, the “form and function-based argument for moral beauty” advanced by Panos Paris, and the “best explanation argument” jointly formulated by Panos Paris and Ryan Doran. These arguments not only lend support to the enduring proposition regarding the interplay between ethics and aesthetics within the domain of analytic philosophy but also significantly expand and enrich the horizons and possibilities of aesthetic inquiry.
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Vitalistic Aesthetics: From Deleuze to Rancière
Zheng Haiting
2023, 43 (6):  183-192. 
Abstract ( 35 )   PDF (1023KB) ( 51 )  
Deleuze and Rancière's project of representational criticism redefines artistic autonomy in the context of vitalism, reflecting on the connection between popular artistic autonomy and representation, and replacing organic poetics with life poetics. Deleuze introduces the concepts of “Life” and “becoming,” arguing that works of autonomy are blocs of pure sensation. Literary creation liberates the virtual from its actualizations and assumes a validity of its own, leading to a fundamentally new type of narration. Rancière builds upon Deleuze's thoughts on vitalism, but questions Deleuze's approach of proposing a metaphysics of literature against representational poetics and transferring the self-regulation of works of art to self-regulation of life within the aesthetic regime. He points out that the structure of modern novel is a dissensual figure that superimposes different blocs of sensations, and the modernist poetics of life is a contradictory poetics where in sensations coexist.
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From Ethical Subject to Self of Eros: The Aesthetics of Existence from Foucault to Agamben
Ye Renjie
2023, 43 (6):  193-201. 
Abstract ( 21 )   PDF (1065KB) ( 68 )  
The aesthetics of existence is at the core of Foucault's later ethical genealogy, in which the superiority of the free subject in the self-construction over power can establish the superiority of the ethical subject over the moral subject and that of the governance of the self over the governance of others. Agamben's concept of the “form-of-life” in Part IV of the Homo Sacer is developed from his reflections upon Foucault, which suggests that Foucault's aesthetics of existence does not attain what he expects because of its association with tekhne or power. Therefore, Agamben critically inherits Foucault's thought from an ontological perspective and develops his existential aesthetics of the self of eros.
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Dignitas and Venustas in Ancient Rome: The Ciceronian Aesthetic Ideals
Xiao Xinyao
2023, 43 (6):  202-210. 
Abstract ( 22 )   PDF (1232KB) ( 38 )  
In the history of Western aesthetics, Cicero made a groundbreaking differentiation between two categories of beauty, namely, dignitas and venustas. Starting with a critical examination of this set of concepts, this article argues that Cicero utilized the conceptual and linguistic resources from the second century BCE onwards to develop his aesthetic theory. He defended the masculine dignitas while making venustas — previously used to denote feminine or erotic beauty—an indispensable charm for elite men. The inherent gender and class conflicts within the two types of beauty demonstrated the dilemma facing the ideal orators in Cicero's mind amidst the social crises of late Republican Rome. Since Cicero's time, the meaning of venustas had gone through a semantic shift. It became a common term describing aristocratic men as well as works of art. In Cicero's writings, dignitas and venustas had not yet become independent aesthetic concepts; instead, they were subordinate to the writer's ethical and political concerns.
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Immanuel Kant's Investigation into the Beautiful and the Sublime and Its Theoretical Provisions
Li Puman
2023, 43 (6):  211-220. 
Abstract ( 22 )   PDF (1000KB) ( 19 )  
Immanuel Kant's theoretical investigation into the beautiful and the sublime is embodied in his theoretical construction of Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime and Critique of Judgment. Through practical anthropology and critical philosophy, the inherent differences in Kant's early and late aesthetic thought on these concepts can be revealed. Such differences profoundly reveal the distinction between axiological provisions based on the empirical principle and epistemological provisions based on the transcendental principle. In this way, Kant reveals that the beautiful and the sublime are not only positive to the judgement of aesthetic value in national cultural life, but also normative to the construction of pure aesthetic theory and the exploration of aesthetic relations. Therefore, according to Kant, enduring theoretical attention to the two concepts is necessary for aesthetics.
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