Tang Era Poetry

12 May, 2022 890 Other literatures

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss two of China’s greatest poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, who wrote in the 8th century in the Tang Era. Li Bai (701-762AD) is known for personal poems, many of them about drinking wine, and for finding the enjoyment in life. Du Fu (712-770AD), a few years younger, is more of an everyman, writing in the upheaval of the An Lushan Rebellion (755-763AD). Together they have been a central part of Chinese culture for over a millennium, reflecting the balance between the individual and the public life, and one sign of their enduring appeal is that there is rarely agreement on which of them is the greater.

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  • Tim Barrett 8 episodes
    Professor Emeritus of East Asian History at SOAS, University of London
  • Tian Yuan Tan No other episodes
    Shaw Professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow at University College
  • Frances Wood 10 episodes
    Former Curator of the Chinese Collections at the British Library

Reading list

  • A Little Primer of Tu Fu
    David Hawkes (Clarendon Press, 1967) Google Books →
  • Poems of Hanshan
    Peter Hobson (trans.) (Yale University Press, 2010)
  • Studies in Medieval Taoism and the Poetry of Li Po
    Paul W. Kroll (Ashgate Publishing, 2009) Google Books →
  • Cathay: Ezra Pound's Orient
    Ira Nadel (Penguin, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Poetry of Du Fu
    Stephen Owen (trans.) (De Gruyter Mouton, 2016) Google Books →
  • Poems
    Li Po and Tu Fu (trans. Arthur Cooper) (Penguin, 1973) Google Books →
  • Bright Moon, Perching Bird: Poems by Li Po and Tu Fu
    Jerome P. Seaton and James Cryer (Wesleyan University Press, 1987)
  • Tracking the Banished Immortal: The Poetry of Li Bo and Its Critical Reception
    Paula M. Varsano (University of Hawai'i Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Life and Times of Po Chu-i
    Arthur Waley (Allen & Unwin, 1949) Google Books →
  • The Poetry and Career of Li Po
    Arthur Waley (Allen and Unwin, 1950) Google Books →
  • 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei
    Eliot Weinberger (W. W. Norton & Company, 2016) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m00174d0

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00174d0

Auto-category: 895.1 (Chinese poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, two of China's greatest poets date from the 8th century in the Tang Era and they're Li Bai and Lu Fu.