Substance Through Artistic Appeal
指文学作品通过艺术形象而展示给人们的某种哲理和审美趣味，亦指读者通过对作品的阅读欣赏而领略到的其中所蕴含的哲理启示与审美趣味。魏晋南北朝出现的玄言诗崇尚玄理，宋人好以议论入诗，皆为后人诟病。因而有 些诗歌评论家反对脱离艺术形象而单纯说“理”的创作理念，主张将“理” 寄寓在艺术形象中，化为鲜活生动的审美趣味，所以称作理趣。这里的“理” 是人生体悟，而非知识和学问，不能用逻辑概念去表达。这里的“趣”是一 种审美情趣，是体悟人生哲理后的内心喜悦。“理趣说”将诗歌能否说理的 争议转化为哲理与情趣相结合的理论主张，有助于辩证看待一切寄寓思考与 体悟的文学作品。
This term refers to the philosophical substance of a work as well as its literary appeal conveyed to readers through its artistic image. In other words, it means the philosophical insights and aesthetic engagement that readers acquire through the process of appreciatively reading classic literary works. For example, poets of the Wei, Jin, or Southern and Northern dynasties were fond of entertaining abstruse schools of philosophy in their poems, while Song- dynasty poets often used poetry to comment on the society of their time. Both practices were treated as faults by some critics of later times. Some later critics even maintained that philosophical content should never figure into a poem apart from artistic images. Instead they maintained that the substantial content of the poem should be conveyed only by means of artistic images so that it could be grasped by readers through their appreciation of the work’s artistic features, thus the term “substance through artistic appeal.” Li (理) in this phrase refers to insights derived from the experience of life rather than bookish knowledge and learning. It is not something that can be acquired or expressed through logical argument. Qu (趣) refers to the aesthetic delight readers obtain when they acquire insight into life through reading classic literary works. This concept turns the dispute over whether poems could present logical arguments into a theory of the integration of reason and taste in poetic writing. It helps critics appreciate dialectically those literary works that contain both logic and insight.
- 盖古人于诗不苟作、不多作，而或一诗之出，必极天下之至精。状理 则理趣浑然，状事则事情昭然，状物则物态宛然。 （包恢《答曾子华论诗》） （大约古人作诗，不轻易作，也不多作，只要创作一首诗，就一定追求天底 下最好。说理则哲理与趣味浑然一体，叙事则事情的来龙去脉很明晰，写物 则事物的形态让人感觉真切自然。）
Most likely, when writing poems, the classic poets neither wrote carelessly nor wrote many of them. Once they had decided to write a poem, they would strive to create the best work possible. As for philosophical substance, the argument and its aesthetic appeal should be well integrated; when it came to narration, the logic of the story was made perfectly clear, and descriptions were such that the thing described would appear natural and lifelike. (Bao Hui:Letter to Zeng Zihua on Poetry)
- 诗不能离理，然贵有理趣，不贵下理语。 （沈德潜《清诗别裁集·凡例》） （写诗不能背离哲理，但贵在将哲理与审美趣味融为一体，不推崇直接写出哲理。）
A poem cannot avoid philosophical content, yet it is best to integrate the argument with aesthetic appeal. Direct argument is inappropriate for poetry. (Shen Deqian: Collection of Poems in the Qing Dynasty)