Ch'en Tzu-ang (A.D. 661-702), innovator in T'ang poetry

Man-Wui Ho
Ch'en Tzu-ang (661-702) is known to have been the first poet in the T'ang dynasty who openly expressed discontent over effeteness in poetry and advocated the return to the seriousness of the Han-Wei style. Some of his poems contain veiled criticisms of the regime of the Empress Wu (624?-705), while others bear equally serious themes. His precepts proved very influential and were greatly appreciated in the whole of the dynasty. His achievement in the poetic form, likewise, was duly recognized by
more » ... poets after the T'ang dynasty, when the formal aspects of poetry were given fervent study. Section I of this thesis begins with a prologue discussing the reign of the Empress, which shaped the career and works of Ch'en Tzu-ang as such. Then it deals with the life and career of the poet. In it a great many incidents which have a direct bearing on Ch'en's social and political poems are included. The mystery which surrounds Ch'en's death is also examined. This section ends with a general appraisal of the poet's political philosophy. Section II begins with a survey of the poetic scenes of the pre-T'ang and early T'ang period, as a background to Ch'en's poetics, which were then examined in detail. This is followed by an analysis of the Kan-yu poems, which were greatly responsible for the poet's fame. Other poems of a similar nature are also discussed. To complete the study of his poetic attainments, some of the poet's regulated poems as well as his syntactic and tonal techniques in poetry are analysed. Section II, and the whole thesis, is concluded with a collection of appreciative references to the poet by the T'ang literati, and a suggestion of the social factors which brought him to his position.
doi:10.25501/soas.00028691 fatcat:is5uenmmqnautkb46obtfz3rb4