UBC Theses and Dissertations
Tu Fu and his nineteen hepta-syllabic regulated verses Winters, Alison Kit Ping
Though Tu Fu was one of China's most prolific poets, his accomplishments and contributions to Chinese poetry were not widely or fully recognized by contemporary writers and scholars during his life time. This thesis provides a detailed study of a manageable portion of Tu Fu's work—nineteen poems—related by their form, which is hepta-syllabic regulated verse, their period, approximately two years in the author's life, their theme of nostalgia, and by three poetic techniques. Chapter one presents a biographical sketch of Tu Fu; it focuses on those aspects of his life and historical context which bear directly on an understanding of the poetry he wrote in K'uei-chou in 766 and 767 A.D. In chapter two I review past criticism of Tu Fu's works from the 12th century to the 19th century and summarize the three major approaches which have characterized past scholarship. In this chapter I also discuss my own approach to Tu Fu's poetry, an approach which is based on the assumption that his works are perhaps best considered in terms of theme and poetic techniques. In the nineteen poems which I analyse, Tu Fu expresses his deep sense of nostalgia toward Ch'ang-an and, insofar as they are thematically connected, I believe there is much to be learned from taking these poems and analysing the three poetic techniques—association of one time with another, association of one place with another, and transformation of the external world informed by the subjective world, which Tu Fu uses to express the theme of nostalgia. Chapter three is a study of Tu Fu's nineteen hepta-syllabic regulated verses written in K'uei-chou in 766 and 767 A.D. In this chapter, I cite each poem in translation; then I discuss the imagery, meaning, and poetic technique of each poem. In chapter four I summarize Tu Fu's poetic techniques employed in these poems. I conclude that Tu Fu expresses his spiritual torment eloquently and gracefully, and that his poetic techniques are as impressive and innovative by the standards of today as they were in his own time.
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