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A Poetic Narrative Of Change: Du Fu's Poetic Sequence "Going Out The Passes: First Series"

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Chapter Summary

Du Fu (712-770) saw the possibilities of the poem sequence like no one before him "Qiuxing ba shou" is not only one of Du Fu's most famous works, but also explores the possibility of "squaring" the formal properties of regulated verse in eight poems of eight lines each. Du Fu wrote two such sequences, both under the then popular yuefu title "Chusai". The conventional soldier speaker is taken through a series of phases, mapped onto current history: the periods preceding and following the An Lushan Rebellion. The two sequences are distinguished in several ways: the former represents a conscript; the latter, a volunteer seeking to distinguish himself in arms. The first of these sequences is more subtle in its representation of a ten-year transformation of a reluctant peasant-conscript into a "soldier of the empire ".

Keywords: An Lushan Rebellion; Chusai; Du Fu's poetic sequence



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