Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Asian Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

Paul W. Kroll

Second Advisor

Antje Richter

Third Advisor

Matthias L. Richter

Abstract

The Tang dynasty official Chu Guangxi was a well-regarded poet with a place in the literary circle of the eighth century, that most famous era of poetic production known as the High Tang, and yet he was not canonized by posterity in the way that many of his contemporaries were. Perhaps as a direct result of this, there exists no modern critical edition of Chu’s poetry, and very little has been written about him in Western languages. Thus, I offer here an introduction to the life and poetry of Chu Guangxi, a High Tang poet possessing something of a “silver” status. In the course of examining his poetic corpus, I attempt to challenge the one analytical strain that still persists in the majority of Chinese-language scholarship on Chu, namely that his best poetry shows him to be an epigone of the Six Dynasties poet-recluse Tao Qian and a waypoint in the teleological trajectory of pastoral verse. In my reading of Chu’s poems, I find that while some owe an undeniable stylistic debt to Tao Qian, these and many others also evince a strong poetic tension between Chu and his famous reclusive forebear, a tension made manifest in a literary consciousness aswim with the work not just of Tao, but of countless other earlier poets as well. Building on the critical writings of T. S. Eliot and Harold Bloom, I analyze Chu’s poetry as the work of an author who is both conscious of his place in the grand historical matrix of literary tradition, and also working to forge his own poetic identity.

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