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One hundred years of new Chinese poetry

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The late Qing revolution saw the rise of the Poetic Revolution. Although its proponents did not succeed in breaking away from the constraints of the prosody of old poetry, the Poetic Revolution paved the way for the May Fourth New Poetry Revolution. The new poetry of the Poetic Revolution was produced against the background of the Opium War, and this historical context determined its goals and values. Ultimately, the emphasis it gave to how new poetry could serve Chinese society proved the stumbling block in its development. New poetry was caught in a conflict between form and content, between tradition and modernity, between the West and China, and between the prosody of classical “old poetry” and the free verse of new poetry.


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