Tu Fu

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Tu Fu

(do͞o fo͞o), 712–70, Chinese poet. In Pinyin, his name is romanized as Du Fu. Tu Fu is often considered the greatest of Chinese poets. He did not pass the imperial civil service examinations and, although he held a few official positions for brief periods, he spent many poverty-stricken years as a wanderer. His poetry expresses his bitterness concerning his life. It laments the corruption and cruelty that prevailed at court and the sufferings of the poor. Tu Fu's work is pervaded by an ironic awareness of spiritual and social decay, yet maintains humor and a sense of hope. His autobiography was translated (1929–34) by Florence Ayscough.


See biographies by W. Hung (2 vol., 1952) and A. R. Davis (1971); Li Po and Tu Fu, ed. and tr. by A. Cooper (1973).

Tu Fu


Born in 712, in Kung District, Hunan Province; died in 770. Chinese poet.

Tu Fu was the son of an official. He traveled widely in China and knew the life of the people well. He was close to Li Po. In his poems “Song of the Fighting Chariots” and “On a March Beyond the Great Wall” (750’s), Tu Fu protested against the ruinous wars that were being waged by the government. His “Song of a Beauty” ridicules the dissolute life of courtiers. In his poem “What Was in My Soul When I Set Off From the Capital to Fenghsien” (755) he expressed the dream of equality between people. In “Song of a Young Man” he condemned the self-interest of officials. During the feudal revolt of An Lu-shan, he fled from the capital, saving himself from the invaders. In his verses of that period, Tu Fu wrote about the defeat of the T’ang army and the suffering of the people. His cycles of accusatory verses, Three Rulers and Three Partings, achieved wide renown. The poet spent the last years of his life wandering and died in solitude and poverty. Tu Fu was a master of lyrical landscape poetry and extolled the joy of man’s union with nature (“Spring Waters,” “I Rise Early,” and others). The verses of Tu Fu had a tremendous influence on the development of the poetry of the entire Far East. In China he was called “the coryphaeus of poetry.”


Tu Shao-ling chi hsiang chu, vols. 1-4, Peking, 1955.
In Russian translation:
Stikhotvoreniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.


Serebriakov, E. A. Du Fu: Kritiko-biogmficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1958.
Feng Chi. Tu Fu chuan. Peking, 1953.
References in periodicals archive ?
After a chapter on the birth the poetic Du Fu, he covers experiencing Du Fu: the mode of life reading in the Song Dynasty, the significance of the form, back to the poet, how to do things with poetry: Du Fu and the mode of life reading during the Ming-Qing transition, and official intervention in the reception of Du Fu during the Qing Dynasty.
This quatrain was written by Du Fu when he returned to his thatched cottage in Chengdu after the An Lushan-Shi Siming Rebellion and caught sight of such vibrant views in front of him.
Du Fu es uno de mis colegas del pasado, maestro literario y ejemplo politico.
With equal passion, Du Fu said he hoped he could read Buddhism scriptures in Sanskrit to see how the belief system influenced Chinese culture.
Since Du Fu began to be introduced to the Anglophone world as early as the eighteenth century, translators and scholars have been involved in confronting this commentarial tradition in their effort to understand Du Fu's poems and how his poems had been read in traditional China.
But Du Fu was one of the first to nativize, or domesticate, the form and write in it for local and historical topics, such as this poem's mourning over bodies politic and physical in deterioration (though canonized as of a generation after his death, he was not highly regarded as a poet while alive; perhaps this is part of the reason why).
Du Fu regards these kinds of displays as superficial, and rejects the idea that animals or supernatural creatures can affect nature.
Despite the apparent difficulty in getting to these vantage points, the mood in the photos is, by Kander's own admission, contemplative, as if the eighth-century Chinese poet Du Fu were back composing lyrics to the river and its power to make humans seem puny and vain.
His latest recording is "Poems of Du Fu" in which he reads is original translations of the great Chinese poet Du Fu.
Facing the Moon: Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu (Oyster River Press, 978-1-882291-04-5) is translated with impressive cohesion by UCLA professor Keith Holyoak.
Poems by China's greatest and most well loved poet Du Fu (712-770) are accessible today through Vikram Seth's moving translations.
Une idee de la qualite maximale emergera d'une liste: Sappho decrivant la jalousie, Il goute le bonheur que connaissent les dieux ; le moyen anglais Oh, Western wind, when wilt thou blow ; la Ballade des pendus de Villon, les Cierges de Cavafis et beaucoup des oeuvres de Du Fu, Li Bo, Pouchkine, Garcia Lorca, Stevens et Frost.