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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


The Group of Court Poets during Emperor T’ai-tsung’ s Reign: the Beginning of T’ang Poetry

Vol. 29 No. 2   6/1999  


The Group of Court Poets during Emperor T’ai-tsung’s Reign: the Beginning of T’ang Poetry


Jin-hua Jia









Key words

Court Poetry, Group of Poets, Chronicle, Southern and Northern Styles, Dichotomous Phenomenon


      This article focuses on the group of court poets during Emperor T’ai tsung’s reign (626-649). It comprises two parts. The first part chronicles in detail the group’s literary activities and works, and corrects some mi stakes in current research. The second part examines their poems by close reading. The court poets engaged in combining the Southern and Northern styles, and this poetic practice was in accord with their literary theory. However, unlike later poets of the High T’ang who could perfectly merge tonal harmony with vigorous style and also images with feelings, the court poets of early T’ang applied the Southern and Northern Styles respectively in different subject matter. When they wrote poems ref lection of self-expression, on war or historical events, they often adopted the ancient-style form, using simple and vigorous diction and maintaining the integral and serious style of the North. When they wrote poems about banquets or objects, they al ways used the new-style form, making the tones harmonious and the scenes and images vivid, and, especially when writing love songs, they did not hesitate to apply the gorgeous style of Southern court poetry. They composed some excellent poems, which perfectly blend the Southern, and Northern Styles, but most of their works present a phenomenon of dichotomy, which represents the immaturity of the beginning of T’ang poetry. Some scholars have asserted that their works follow the Northern style, while others have argued that the Southern style predominates. These opposing comments have some from a one-sided view instead of a comprehensive and objective study.



Author: Jin-hua Jia
Genre: Article
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