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The Verse of Chu (Chinese-English)

  • the verse of chu
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Library of Chinese Classics: The Verse of Chui (Chinese-English)
Translated into English by Zhuo Zhenying
Translated into Modern Chinese by Chen Qizhi and Li Yi
Library binding book, dimensions 960 x 640, 1/16, hardcover, 237 pages
Published by Hunan People's Publishing House, 2006
ISBN: 7543840286

The Verse of Chu, which dates back to the Warring States Period (475 BC -211 BC), is the sources of Chinese poetry and in a broader sense, of Chinese culture. Included in this book are twenty-six pieces composed by the representative writer Qu Yuan, and two pieces by Song Yu. Eloquent, full of variety, rich in figures of speech and tinctured with the refined vernacular expressions of Chu, these works, in which the pursuit of the ideal subtly merges with artistic imagination and mystical conception, exude with literary grace and the spirit of active romanticism. They relate the poets' sorrowful frustrations, lash at the evil forces, and lay bare the poets' patriotic humanistic sentiments and truth-seeking spirit.

The English translation is not only a faithful reproduction of the original in form and content, but it has also assimilated the latest research results in the field in question.


I. Tales of Woe
II The Nine Hymns
III. Inquiries into the Universe
IV. The Nine Songs
V. The Pilgrimage
VI. Making Choices through Divination
VII. A Dialogue with the Fisherman
VIII. Requiem
IX. The Grand Requiem
X. The Nine Cantos

As a new literary style, chu ci abandoned the classic four-character verses used in poems of Shi Jing and adopted verses with varying lengths. This gave it more rhythm and latitude in expression. Furthermore, chu ci should be recited using pronunciations of the dialect of Chu, unlike poems of Shi Jing, which were sung using dialects north of the Yellow River. The collection of poems by Qu Yuan and Song Yu included in Chu Ci, as well as works by other Chu poets, were already popular during the Western Han Dynasty.

Although Chu Ci is an anthology of poems by many poets, Qu Yuan was doubtless its central figure. A minister in the court of King Huai of Chu, Qu Yuan advocated forming an alliance with the other states against the dominance of Qin. However, his advice was not taken and he was ostracized by other officials in court. Seeing the corruption of his colleagues and the inability of his king, Qu Yuan then exiled himself and finally committed suicide in the Miluo River when Qin defeated Chu in 278 BC. It is in remembrance of the circumstances of his death that the annual Dragon boat races are held.

During his days of exile, Qu Yuan is thought to have written Li Sao, his magnum opus and the centerpiece of Chu Ci. The authorship, as in many a case of ancient literature, can be neither confirmed nor denied. Written in 373 verses containing 2490 characters, Li Sao is the earliest Chinese long poem and is acclaimed as the literary representative of Qu Yuan's high moral conduct and patriotism.

Jiu Ge ("Nine Songs"), also attributed to Qu Yuan, is the first example of what could be called shamanic literature in China.

开 本:16开
页 数:237
出版日期:2006-01-01 第1版



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