Poetry of Du Fu

Poetry of Du Fu - Du Fu(712-770) q Ever since the...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Du Fu(712-770) q Ever since the importance of Du Fu’s poetry first came to be recognized early in the ninth century, readers of many different periods and types have considered Du Fu to be the greatest poet of the Chinese tradition. Such general (though not universal) , consensus can partially be explained by the immense variety of Du Fu’s work, which sustained quite different tastes and historical changes in fashion. In part, that consensus was also a consequence of the inertia of “canon”; like Shakespeare in the English tradition, Du Fu’s poetry came to be so deeply bound up with the constitu- tion of literary value that generation after generation of poets and critics rediscov- ered themselves and their interests in some aspect of the poet’s work. Consequently, when challenges were posed to the tradition of classical poetry as a whole-as oc- curred in the late Ming- Du Fu bore the brunt of the critique. Chinese critics from the Song Dynasty on often referred to Du Fu as the “poet- historian”; and indeed, if a reader is interested in the particular details of the period of the An Lu-shan Rebellion, he or she will find in Du Fu comments on current events and powerful images of the historical moment eliciting an immediacy that always eluded the historian proper. The Confucian interpretation of the Classic ofPoetryas bearing witness to the history of the Zhou Dynasty lent authority to such a use of poetry; Du Fu saw himself in the role of the engaged witness of a general political and social situation that reveals itself in particulars. In a larger sense, Du Fu was the historian of himself, creating in his responses to particular situations a coherent life story. It was perhaps this sense of the poet’s life that made Du Fu one of the first to have his poems arranged chronologically’ in early editions, a practice that contin- ued in most later editions of his work. For this reason, Du Fu’s poems have been tra- ditionally read in the context of the stages of his life. Though much in his poetry transcends a purely biographical reading, this remains a convenient way to first ap- proach it. Early Du Fu Du Fu’s earliest extant poems date from his maturity as an aspirant for office in Chang-an. He was already someone more than merely competent in the various kinds of writing that were popular in the 740s and early 750s though his work did not yet give evidence of the depth and complexity that was to come. Some of his early occasional poems show him to be one of the most remarkable stylists of the period. Du Fu was the grandson of Du Shen-yan, a major figure in the court poetry 413
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Anthology of Chinese Literature of the turn of the eighth century, and it seems that Du Fu took particular pride in his mastery of that densely descriptive style.
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 13

Poetry of Du Fu - Du Fu(712-770) q Ever since the...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online