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              Chu Ci
              Learn Chinese - History and Culture

              ?Chu Ci

              Known as Poetry of the State of Chu, Chu Ci (chǔ cí?楚辭) was a new style of poetry emerged after The Book of Songs (shī jīng 詩經). It sprouted and blossomed in the State of Chu (chǔ guó 楚國) in south china in the 4th century BC.

              As to its formation, it was influenced by folk songs, music and the folk literature of the Chu State; therefore, it was characterized by a strong local flavor. compared with the “Four–Character-Trim-Verse” (sì yán shī 四言詩) style in The Book of Songs, The profusion of myths and fantasies, the unusual twists of imagination, the vigorous surge of feelings and exotic use of verses in Chu Ci was a complete breakthrough, thus enlarging the content of every line of poem and enhancing the expressiveness, thereby demonstrating a unique romanticism that has never faded and pioneered a new road for the development of Chinese culture.

              Qu Yuan and his work
              Qu YuanAlthough Chu Ci is an anthology of poems by many poets, Qu Yuan (qū yuán 屈原) was doubtless its central figure and was regarded as one of the greatest patriotic poets held in the highest esteem in Chinese history. A minister in the court of King Huai of Chu (chǔ huái wáng 楚懷王), Qu Yuan advocated forming an alliance with the other states against the dominance of Qin (qín 秦). However, his advice was not taken and he was ostracized by other officials in court. Witnessing the corruption of his colleagues and the inability of his king, Qu Yuan was rather worried, so he wrote a great number of poems expressing his resentment. Afterwards, defamed by other villains, Qu Yuan was exiled to lead a vagrant life for a long time and finally drowned himself in the Miluo River (mì luó jiāng 汨羅江). On the Dragon Boat Festival (duān wǔ jié 端午節) every the Dragon Boat Festivelyear, Chinese people will wrap glutinous rice dumplings (bāo zòng zǐ 包粽子) and hold dragon boat race (sài lóng zhōu 賽龍舟) to commemorate him. His main works include On Encountering Trouble (Li Sao, lí sāo 離騷), Heavenly Questions (Tian Wen, tiān wèn 天問), Nine Songs (Jiu Ge, jiǔ gē 九歌), etc.
              On Encountering Trouble (Li Sao) is a colossal political lyric made up of over 370 lines with 2400 characters. Drawing on the technique of romanticism, the poet recounted his life, his beliefs and misfortunes, expressed his concern over the fate of the Chu State and his determination to maintain his lofty aspirations. In this poem, riding on a rainbow chariot driven by dragons as white as jade (yù lóng 玉龍), guarded by the god of wind, god of sun, and god of moon, he soared to heaven in search of his ideals. Finally he was forced to leave his most beloved Chu State. Qu Yuan’s patriotism and unyielding spirit has moved and encouraged many readers down through the generations, edifying their sentiment.

              Other poets
              The Book of Han (hàn shū 漢書) noted 106 Chu poets with 1,318 compositions. Many established Han poets also imitated the style of Chu Ci and produced their fair share of notable poems. After Qu Yuan, Song Yu (sòng yù 宋玉) and Tang Le (táng lè 唐勒) also wrote exquisite works in Chu Ci style, making Chu Ci a typical genre of poetry in a certain period, which was called the “Poetry of sorrow” (sāo tǐ shī?騷體詩).


              On Encountering Trouble?

              On Encountering Trouble (part)
              A prince am I of ancestry renowned,
              Illustrious name my royal sire hath found.
              When Sirius did in spring its light display,
              A child was born, and Tiger marked the day.
              When first upon my face my lord's eye glanced,
              For me auspicious names he straight advanced,
              Denoting that in me Heaven's marks divine
              Should with the virtues of the earth combine.


              ?????Chu Ci “楚辭”又稱“楚詞”,是戰國時代的偉大詩人屈原創造的一種詩體。作品運用楚地(今兩湖一帶)的文學樣式、方言聲韻,敘寫楚地的山川人物、歷史風情,具有濃厚的地方特色。漢代時,劉向把屈原的作品及宋玉等人“承襲屈賦”的作品編輯成集,名為《楚辭》。并成為繼《詩經》以后,對我國文學具有深遠影響的一部詩歌總集?!?br /> ????? 楚辭,其本義是指楚地的言辭,后來逐漸固定為兩種含義:一是詩歌的體裁,一是詩歌總集的名稱(在一定程度上也代表了楚國文學)。從詩歌體裁來說,它是戰國后期以屈原為代表的詩人,在楚國民歌基礎上開創的一種新詩體。從總集名稱來說,它是西漢劉向在前人基礎上輯錄的一部“楚辭”體的詩歌總集,收入戰國楚人屈原、宋玉的作品以及漢代賈誼、淮南小山、莊忌、東方朔、王褒、劉向諸人的仿騷作品。
              ????? “楚辭”之名首見于《史記 • 張湯傳》??梢娭吝t在漢代前期已有這一名稱。其本義,當是泛指楚地的歌辭,以后才成為專稱,指以戰國時楚國屈原的創作為代表的新詩體。這種詩體具有濃厚的地域文化色彩,如宋人黃伯思所說,“皆書楚語,作楚聲,紀楚地,名楚物”(《東觀余論》)。西漢末,劉向輯錄屈原、宋玉的作品,及漢代人模仿這種詩體的作品,書名即題作《楚辭》。這是《詩經》以后,我國古代又一部具有深遠影響的詩歌總集。另外,由于屈原的《離騷》是楚辭的代表作,所以楚辭又被稱為“騷”或“騷體”。漢代人還普遍把楚辭稱為“賦”?!妒酚洝分幸颜f屈原“作《懷沙》之賦”《漢書 • 藝文志》中也列有“屈原賦”、“宋玉賦”等名目。
              ????? 在漢代,楚辭也被稱為辭或辭賦。西漢末年,劉向將屈原、宋玉的作品以及漢代淮南小山、東方朔、王褒、劉向等人承襲模仿屈原、宋玉的作品共16篇輯錄成集,定名為《楚辭》。楚辭遂又成為詩歌總集的名稱。由于屈原的《離騷》是《楚辭》的代表作,故楚辭又稱為騷或騷體。


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