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Chinese Narrative Poetry

Chinese narrative poetry:  the late Han through Tʻang dynasties      

Chinese narrative poetry: the late Han through Tʻang dynasties

By Dore Jesse Levy

This is a comprehensive study of Chinese narrative poetry, from the late Han through T'ang dynasties.  The book focuses on narrative  Old-style poetry  (Ku-shih or ku-t'i Shih). The term Ku-shi, used to denote poems from as early as the second century A.D., was in fact not used until the T'ang dynasty, when it was coined to designate the constrast between these meters and the far more rigid and complex requirements of Chin-t'i shih (new-style poetry) when began to develop in the seventh century.

The author discusses four poems and quote most extensively are: Ts'ai Yen's "poem of Affliction"("Pei-fen Shi"), Po Chu-yi's "Song of Everlasting Sorrow"("Ch'ang-hen Ko") and "Ballad of the p'i-p'a"("P'i-p'a hsing"), and Wei Chuang's "Song of the Lady of Ch'in"(Ch'in-fu yin"). These poems are translated by the author himself, and appear in their entirety in the Appendix.