(also known as Li Houchu and Li Ch’ung-kuang). Born 937; died Aug. 15, 978. Chinese poet and last emperor (961–976) of the Southern T’ang dynasty.
Li Yü was a master of tz’u, the short lyric romance. The best of them—such as “The Beauty Yü,” “I Watch the Roses on the Shore,” and “Night Cry of the Raven”—were composed in exile, after he lost the throne. Li Yü’s primarily intimate poetry combines the simplicity of the folk song with keen similes and poetic parallels.
WORKSLi Ching Li Yü tz’u. Peking, 1958.
In Russian translation:
In Antologiia kitaiskoi poezii, vol. 3. Moscow, 1957.
Born 1611, in Jukao, province of Chiangsu; died 1679 or 1680, in Hangchou. Chinese writer and theater theoretician.
Li Yü is the author of the collections of tales Mute Plays and Twelve Palaces, which frequently parody medieval themes and subjects. His novel The Prayer Mat of Flesh affirms the naturalness of human conduct and feeling. He is also known as a playwright (Ten Plays) and particularly as a theoretician of drama and theater art (chapters in his treatise Random Reflections of an Idle Man, 1671). Li Yü called for the liberation of drama from traditional clichés, emphasized the dependency of a play’s plot on its basic theme, and urged that plays be made accessible to any, even the uneducated, spectator. He published and annotated The Tale of the Three Kingdoms and other classical epics.
WORKSLi Yü chüan chi, vols. 1–15. Taipei, 1970.
The Before Midnight Scholar (Jou Pu Tuan). London, 1967. Translated by R. Martin from the German version by F. Kuhn.