Pentasyllabic Shi poetry : the “Nineteen Old Poems”

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The "Nineteen Old Poems" introduces new themes and transforms old ones in ways that reflect the rising self-consciousness of the literati. Whether speaking directly or through a female persona, the anonymous poets consistently brooded over their inner experience and searched for the meaning of their lives on an abstract philosophical level unseen in earlier shi poetry. The new syntactic and structural features of this collection also yield ample internal evidence of self-reflective literati writing instead of singers performing or others orally communicating the poems. In view of such profound thematic and formal changes, modern critics generally agree that this collectin marks an important transition from a performative to a self-reflective tradition in the evolution of pentasyllabic shi poetry. For this reason, it is often hailed as a fountainhead of Chinese lyricusn and given a prominent place in the history of Chinese poetry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow to read Chinese poetry : a guided anthology
PublisherColumbia University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780231139410
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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