Fu (poetry)

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Fu, often translated as "rhapsody" or "poetic exposition", is a form of Chinese rhymed prose that was the dominant literary form during the Han dynasty (206 – AD220).wikipedia
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Wen Xuan

Selections of Refined Literature'' (''Wen xuan'' 文選)WenxuanNotes on the Anthology of Literature
The largest collections of historical fu are the Selections of Refined Literature (Wen xuan 文選), the Book of Han (Han shu 漢書), the New Songs from the Jade Terrace (Yutai xinyong 玉臺新詠), and official dynastic histories.
The Wen Xuan preserves most of the greatest fu rhapsody and shi poetry pieces from the Qin and Han dynasties, and for much of pre-modern history was one of the primary sources of literary knowledge for educated Chinese.

Ban Gu

Ban, Guhis clanPan Ku
Han dynasty historian Ban Gu in the "Monograph on Arts and Letters" defined fu as "to recite without singing" (bù gē ér sòng 不歌而誦).
He also wrote a number of fu, a major literary form, part prose and part poetry, which is particularly associated with the Han era.

Jia Yi

Chia YiChia I
The earliest preserved and definitely datable fu is Jia Yi's "Fu on the Owl" (Fúniǎo fù 鵩鳥賦), composed about 170.
Jia Yi (c. 200 – 169 BCE) was a Chinese writer, poet and politician of the Western Han dynasty, best known as one of the earliest known writers of fu rhapsody and for his essay "Disquisition Finding Fault with Qin" (Guò Qín Lùn 過秦論), which criticises the Qin dynasty and describes Jia's opinions on the reasons for its collapse.

Classic of Poetry

ShijingShi JingBook of Songs
Unlike the songs of the Classic of Poetry (Shijing 詩經) or the Verses of Chu (Chu ci 楚辭), fu were meant to be recited aloud or chanted but not sung.
Traditional scholarship of the Poetry identified three major literary devices employed in the songs: straightforward narrative (fù ), explicit comparisons (bǐ ) and implied comparisons (xìng ).

Sima Xiangru

Of all the authors from the golden age of "grand fu" composition, Sima Xiangru is generally considered to be the greatest.
Sima is a significant figure in the history of Classical Chinese poetry, and is generally regarded as the greatest of all composers of Chinese fu rhapsodies.

Han dynasty

Eastern Han dynastyHanWestern Han dynasty
Fu, often translated as "rhapsody" or "poetic exposition", is a form of Chinese rhymed prose that was the dominant literary form during the Han dynasty (206 – AD220).
Han dynasty poetry was dominated by the fu genre, which achieved its greatest prominence during the reign of Emperor Wu.

Yang Xiong (author)

Yang Xiong
The most prominent critic of "grand fu" was the other great fu writer of the Han dynasty: Yang Xiong.
Yang Xiong (53 BCE–18 CE) was a Chinese poet, philosopher, and politician of the Han dynasty known for his philosophical writings and fu poetry compositions.

Rhymed prose

rhyming textrhyming proseSaj
Fu, often translated as "rhapsody" or "poetic exposition", is a form of Chinese rhymed prose that was the dominant literary form during the Han dynasty (206 – AD220).
A Chinese form of elaborate rhymed prose called fu developed as the major literary form particularly associated with the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).

Zhang Heng

Chang Hunggrid systemHeng Zhang
Two of the most famous fu writers of the Eastern Han period were the polymaths Zhang Heng and Cai Yong.
His fu (rhapsody) and shi poetry were renowned in his time and studied and analyzed by later Chinese writers.

Yiwenzhi

BibliographyMonograph on Arts and LettersHanshu Yiwenzhi
Han dynasty historian Ban Gu in the "Monograph on Arts and Letters" defined fu as "to recite without singing" (bù gē ér sòng 不歌而誦).
"Many books were in great disarray in the time of Chengdi, upon which Chen Nong was ordered to collect all the books in the world, and high officials to collate books in the Imperial Library; Luminous Grand Master, Liu Xiang, was put in charge of works by the Confucians, the philosophers, and the shi and fu poets; Lieutenant General of the Shanglin Imperial Garden Garrison, Ren Hong, of works by militarists, Grand Astronomer-Historian, Yin Xian, of works by astrologers and diviners, and Surgeon to the Emperor, Li Zhuguo, of works by herbalists and alchemists. Liu Xiang wrote an abstract for each completed work, catalogued, and memorialized it to the emperor. Liu Xin expanded the system to cover a great many books, and memorialized the Seven Abstracts, or the Qilue."

Li Sao

LisaoSaoChu ''sao
Jia's surviving writings mention an earlier fu he wrote upon his exile to Changsha which he modeled upon Qu Yuan's "Encountering Sorrow" (Li Sao 離騷), but it has not survived to the present.
It is in the fu style.

Mi Heng

Poets often used subjects of descriptive fu poems to symbolize themselves, as in "Fu on the Parrot" (Yīngwǔ fù 鸚鵡賦), by Mi Heng, in which Mi uses a caged parrot as an allegory for a scholar whose talents go unrecognized and whose inability to control his tongue results in his captivity.
He is best known for his fu rhapsody "Fu on the Parrot", which is his only work that has survived to modern times.

Chengdu

Chengdu, ChinaChengtuChengdu, Sichuan
A native of Chengdu, he was traditionally said to have been summoned to the imperial court after Emperor Wu happened to personally read his "Fu of Sir Vacuous" (Zǐxū fù 子虛賦), though this is almost certainly a story added later.
The city has been home to literary giants, such as Sima Xiangru and Yang Xiong, two masters of Fu, a mixture of descriptive prose and verse during the Han dynasty; Li Bai and Su Shi, the most eminent poets of the Tang and Song dynasties respectively; Yang Shen'an, a famous scholar of the Ming dynasty; and Guo Moruo and Ba Jin, two well-known modern writers.

Qu Yuan

Mi YuanCh'ü YüanTuen Ng Festival
Jia's surviving writings mention an earlier fu he wrote upon his exile to Changsha which he modeled upon Qu Yuan's "Encountering Sorrow" (Li Sao 離騷), but it has not survived to the present.
The Chu Ci poems are important as being direct precursors of the fu style of Han Dynasty literature.

Yu Xin

Yu Xin is generally considered the last great fu poet of Chinese history.
Yu Xin was one of the founders of the Xu-Yu literary style, and the author of a famous fu.

Imperial examination

imperial examinationsjinshicivil service examinations
Beginning in the Tang dynasty, these "regulated fu" were required for the composition sections of the imperial examinations.
Sometime between 730 and 740, after the Tang restoration, a section requiring the composition of original poetry (including both shi and fu) was added to the tests, with rather specific set requirements: this was for the jinshi degree, as well as certain other tests.

Shi (poetry)

shigushishi'' poetry
During the Six Dynasties period (220–589), fu remained a major part of contemporary poetry, although shi poetry was gradually increasing in popularity.
In such analysis, "shi" poetry is contrasted with other forms such as the Chu-derived "ci" and the Han-era "fu".

Emperor Wu of Han

Emperor WuHan WudiLiu Che
Emperor Wu of Han ascended the throne in 141 BC, and his 54-year reign is considered the golden age of "grand fu".
The fu style typical of Han poetry also took shape during the reign of Emperor Wu in his court, with poet and official Sima Xiangru as a leading figure.

Guo Pu

If not for the survival of Chinese scholar Guo Pu's early 4th century AD annotations to "Fu on the Imperial Park", much of its ancient and esoteric terminology would now be unintelligible.
Guo was also an accomplished poet, and his 11 surviving fu poems display his extensive command of the ancient Chinese language.

Six Dynasties poetry

poetrySix Dynasties poetcontemporary poetry
During the Six Dynasties period (220–589), fu remained a major part of contemporary poetry, although shi poetry was gradually increasing in popularity.
The general and prolific poet Lu Ji used Neo-Taoist cosmology to take literary theory in a new direction with his "Wen fu", or "Essay on Literature" in the fu poetic form.

Tao Yuanming

Tao QianT'ao Ch'ien
Xie Lingyun is one of the best-known poets of the entire Six Dynasties period, second only to Tao Yuanming.
An example given of the thematic evolution of one of Tao's poetic themes is Zhang Heng's Return to the Field, written in the Classical Chinese poetry form known as the fu, or "rhapsody" style, but Tao's own poetry (including his own "Return to the Field" poem) tends to be known for its use of the more purely poetic shi which developed as a regular line length form from the literary yuefu of the Jian'an and foreshadows the verse forms favored in Tang poetry, such as gushi, or "old-style verse".

Han poetry

poetry of the Han DynastyHan Dynasty balladsHan dynasty folk ballads
This poetry reflects one of the poetry world's more important flowerings, as well as being a special period in Classical Chinese poetry, particularly in regard to the development of the quasipoetic fu; the activities of the Music Bureau in connection with the collection of popular ballads and the resultant development of what would eventually become known as the yuefu, or as the rhapsodic formal style; and, finally, towards the end of the Han Dynasty, the development of a new style of shi poetry, as the later development of the yuehfu into regular, fixed-line length forms makes it difficult to distinguish in form from the shi form of poetic verse, and at what point specific poems are classified as one or the other is somewhat arbitrary.

Xie Lingyun

Xie Lingyun is one of the best-known poets of the entire Six Dynasties period, second only to Tao Yuanming.
Xie was influenced by a tradition of fu-style poetry, or literature.

Du Mu

In 826, Tang poet Du Mu's poem "Fu on E-pang Palace" (Ēpáng gōng fù 阿房宫賦) laid the foundation for a new form of fu called "prose fu" (wénfù 文賦), in which prose is freely rhymed.
Du Mu was skilled in shi, fu and ancient Chinese prose.

Classical Chinese poetry forms

Classical Chinese poetry formChinaclassical Chinese poems
The fu type of poem, which sometimes even incorporated sections of prose, had few limitations on line length, except that, within a section of verse, the line lengths tended to be of equal length.