Asian Poets (Critical Survey of Poetry) - download pdf or read online

By Rosemary M. Canfield Reisman

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Additional info for Asian Poets (Critical Survey of Poetry)

Example text

The religions and cultures of Iran, Gilgit, Kashmir, Turfan, Khotan, China, and, perhaps most important, the Buddhist kingdoms of northern India, all had an impact on the development of Tibetan civilization. Tibetans attribute the invention of their alphabet to Thonmi Sambhota, a minister of Srong-brtsan sgam-po. The king first sent a group of Tibetans to India to study Indian alphabets to develop an alphabet suited to the Tibetan language, but this group met with failure. Srong-brtsan sgam-po then sent Thonmi to India.

Wei Ji was one such person. As an adviser to the emperor, he was in a position to help Du Fu when the occasion arose. Du Fu was also well acquainted with Prince Li Jin, a pleasure-loving, undisciplined figure who was an embarrassment to the court. The prince had a great appreciation for literature, however, and after Du Fu wrote several poems dealing with “The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup,” as the prince and his coterie were called, the prince took a special liking to the poet. Because of these friendships, Du Fu’s name was heard around the court, and when he wrote the “Three Great Ceremonies” poems, their excellence and their laudatory treatment of the emperor engendered imperial recognition and favor.

None of this evidence is conclusive, but it is the first of several indications that Li Bo’s life was shaped by his position as an outsider in the empire. The Tang taste for the exotic and the 44 Asian Poets Li Bo Turkish connections of the imperial family meant that the work of a “foreigner” would have had a special appeal (many poets of the era were influenced by Central Asian themes and music), but Han Chinese ethnocentricity meant that the “foreigner” himself would always have been regarded as exactly that.

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