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A Tale of Two Worlds: The Late Tang Poetic Presentation of The Romance of the Peach Blossom Font

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This article examines late Tang poetic representations of the early fifth-century tale of Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao's romance with divine maidens at a Shangri-La-like peach blossom font. Shi poems by such poets as Liu Yuxi (772-822) and Yuan Zhen (779-831), and a group of Huajian ("among the flowers") ci poems under the tune "Nüguanzi" ("The Daoist Priestess") by Wen Tingyun (ca. 812-866) and others, reveal the exploration of the old tale as a rich source of allegorical tropes. In particular, the late Tang poets consistently revitalize the Liu-Ruan tale's bifurcation between the immortal and the mortal worlds, a division between "two worlds" that enabled them to express a range of different meanings at different levels, for example in politics or when talking of love affairs. Cet article s'intéresse aux représentations chez les poètes de la fin des Tang du récit (remontant au début du ve siècle) de l'idylle entre Liu Chen et Ruan Zhao et de jeunes immortelles à une source aux pêchers évoquant le paradis terrestre. Les poèmes shi de Liu Yuxi (772-822) ou Yuan Zhen (779-831), ainsi qu'un groupe de ci "parmi les fleurs" (huajian) sur l'air de la "prêtresse taoïste" (Nüguanzi) par Wen Tingyun (ca. 812-866) et d'autres, montrent qu'on trouvait dans ce vieux récit une riche source de tropes allégoriques. En particulier, les poètes de la fin des Tang se sont systématiquement appliqués à revivifier le thème de la bifurcation entre le monde des immortels et celui des mortels sur laquelle repose l'histoire de Liu et Ruan. Cette division entre deux mondes leur permettait d'exprimer des contenus à des niveaux variés, par exemple dans le domaine politique ou dans celui des relations amoureuses.

Affiliations: 1: Hong Kong Baptist University

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/content/journals/10.1163/008254308x385879
2008-11-01
2016-12-08

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