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China's Middle Period (220-1299)
Transcript of China's Middle Period (220-1299)
365-427 A.D T'ao Ch'ien, poet and Farmer
stands at the head of the great Chinese poetic tradition like a revered grandfather: profoundly wise, self-possessed, quiet, comforting. T'ao was the first writer to make a poetry of his natural voice and immediate experience, thereby creating the personal lyricism which distinguishes ancient Chinese poetry and makes it seem so contemporary.
400-450 The Flourishing of Landscape Poetry
Poets have long been inspired to tune their lyrics to the variations in landscape, the changes in season, and the natural phenomena around them.
699-761 Wang Wei, poet
also known by other names such as Wang Youcheng, was a Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, musician, painter, and statesman. He was one of the most famous men of arts and letters of his time. Many of his poems are preserved, and twenty-nine were included in the highly influential 18th century anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems.
was a short-lived Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, known for his dense and allusive use of symbolism, for his use of synecdoche, for his vividly imaginative (and often fantastic) imagery, and for his otherwise sometimes unconventional style of poetry. However, these qualities lead to a revival of interest in him and his poetry in the twentieth century.
T'ao gained quasi-mythic status for his commitment to life as a recluse-farmer, despite poverty and hardship, and his poetry mirrors that life. Its unassuming surface reveals a rich philosophical depth. Virtually all major Chinese poets recognized in T'ao a depth and clarity of wisdom that seemed beyond them, a wisdom which also made him a figure honored in the Ch'an (Zen) Buddhist tradition.
China's Middle Period (220-1299)
"When you've just come of age, reading these poems seems like gnawing on withered wood. But reading them after long experience in the world, it seems the decisions of your life were all made in ignorance."
690 Composition of poetry included as part of the chin-shih examination, which young men take to qualify for the best posts in the government
The imperial examination was a civil service examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best potential candidates to serve as administrative officials, for the purpose of recruiting them for the state's bureaucracy. The tests were designed as objective measures to evaluate the educational attainment and merit of the examinees, as part of the process by which final selections and appointments to office would be made.
One of Wang Wei's famous poems is "One-hearted" ("Xiang Si"):
When those red beans come in springtime,
Flushing on your southland branches,
Take home an armful, for my sake,
As a symbol of our love.
701-762 Li Po, poet
Li Po, a legendary carouser, was an itinerant poet who is unsurpassed in the scope of his fanciful imagination and who soars to sublime heights in his descriptions of natural scenes and powerful emotions. He has been called 'the immortal of poets'
712-770 Tu Fu, poet
is a more popular poet. His experiences of civil war imbue his work with great compassion and earthy reality, shot through with humour and desolation, as he views everyday life with an artist's insight.
I wake and moonbeams play around my bed
Glittering like hoarfroast to my wondering eyes
Upwards the glorious moon I raise my head
Then lay me down and thoughts of home arise
772-846 Po Chu-i, poet
Bai Juyi, was a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Many of his poems concern his career or observations made as a government official, including as governor of three different provinces.
Bai's works were also highly influential in the historical development of Japanese literature.
About to cut it to make a mattress,
pitying the breaking of the leaves;
about to cut it to make a bag,
pitying the dividing of the flowers.
It is better to sew it,
making a coverlet of joined delight;
I think of you as if I'm with you,
day or night.
779-831 Yuan Chen, poet and author of the Story of Ying-ying
was a politician of the middle Tang Dynasty, but is more known as an important Chinese writer and poet. In prose literature, Yuan Zhen is particularly for his work Yingying's Biography , which was often adapted for other treatments, including operatic and musical ones.
Biography of Ying-ying
(Ying-ying zhuan), also known as the Story of Yingying, by Yuan Zhen, is Tang dynasty story that tells the history of a sexual relationship between a 16-year-herselfold girl and a 21-year-old man. The girl hurts and also hurts the man. The man hurts himself and also hurts the girl. Some Chinese critics blame the young man for taking the girl's virginity when it is offered to him but not marrying her.
791-817 Li Ho, poet
803-852 Tu Mu, poet
was a leading Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty. His courtesy name was Muzhi , and sobriquet Fanchuan .skilled in shi, fu and ancient Chinese prose. He is best known as the writer of sensual, lyrical quatrains featuring historical sites or romantic situations, and often the themes of separation, decadence, or impermanence. His style blends classical imagery and diction with striking juxtapositions, colloquialisms, or other wordplay. He also wrote long narrative poems, as well as a commentary on the Art of War and many letters of advice to high officials.
813-858 Li Shang-yin, poet
he was much admired and "rediscovered" in the 20th century by the young Chinese writers for the imagist quality of his poems. He is particularly famous for his tantalizing "no title" poems.
981 Completion of the T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, a vast compendium preserving almost all the propose fiction from the T''ang and earlier dynasties
A world in balance
(Extended Accounts of the Reign of Grand Tranquillity; commissioned in 977,
completed in 978)
1000-1100 Rise in popularity of song lyrics or tz'u, sung at parties and by courtesans from the Entertainment Quarters; Rapid expansion of commercial and state-supported printing
1084-1151 Li Ch'ing-chao, lyricist and author of Afterword to Records on Metal and Stone
wrote lyrical poetry with such emotional intensity and creativity of voice andmeter that she was regarded as China's greatest female poet.
-Record of Bronze and Steel
"When there is possession, there must be loss of possession; when there is a gathering together, there must be a scattering. . . . The reason why I have recorded this story . . . is to let it serve as a warning for scholars and collectors in later generations."
1127-1279 Rise old drama and professional storytelling in Hang-chou, the capital of the Southern Sung Dynasty
712-77o Tu Fu poet
Tu Fu is a more popular poet. His experiences of civil war imbue his work with great compassion and earthy reality, shot through with humour and desolation, as he views everyday life with an artist's insight.