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One Poet, Four Faces: The Invention of Tu Fu in Modern Chinese Poetry

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As one of the greatest writers in ancient China, Tu Fu has exerted immense influence upon subsequent poets, including those living in the modern era. Combining history and text with theory, this essay intends to make an in-depth exploration of the rewriting of Tu Fu by Feng Zhi, Yang Mu, Xi Chuan, and Liu Waitong. First, I contextualize the selected four poems composed in 1941, 1974, 1989, and 2000, respectively; and then do a close reading of them. By doing so, this essay aims to observe the tensions between historical narrative and literary imagination, and between symbolic metaphor and living world, so as, ultimately, to interpret how the factors of aesthetics, politics, and metaphysics shaped the different images of Tu Fu.


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