A New Reconstruction of the Life of Li Po

Vol. 23 No. 4   12/1993   


A New Reconstruction of the Life of Li Po


Feng-yu Shih 









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   In this essay, I attempted a new reconstruction of the life of Li Po. Under the guidance of the pioneering works of Wang Ch’I and Chan Ying, I drew on three categories of primary sources to undertake this project. They are (1) Li Po’s personal letters and other non-poetic writings, (2) Li Po’s poetry, especially the titles of occasional poems, and (3) official histories as well as private writings of the T’ang and Sung dynasties which contain biographical materials of Li Po. Usually, I could acquire only rather sketchy pieces of biographical information from these sources. Nevertheless, there do exist some clear and definite materials. And by carefully comparing these materials with the historical background of Li Po, I have been able to date a number of episodes in Li Po’s life. Then, by putting other materials in the light of these dated episodes, it became possible to gradually fix the dates of most other 

episodes in Li Po’s life. Now I am glad to find that a relatively detailed and picture of Li Po’s whole life is no longer beyond our grasp. 




Author: Feng-yu Shih
Genre: Article