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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Historical references offer a profile of the two palaces as a symbol of imperial over-indulgence, which warrants credibility in our reading of Du Fu's poems.
Chen Jo-shui, "Sixiangshi zhong de Du Fu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Zhongyang yanjiuyuan lishi yuyan yanjiusuo jikan 69.1 (March 1998): 1-43.
Du Fu here is commenting on Li Bo's situation after he was sentenced to exile in Yelang.
(89.) Liu Kui wrote commentaries on the "Wu du fu" and the "Shu du fu." There is no complete biography of Liu Kui.
In Du Fu's ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) "A Quatrain" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), analogy is used: "Two golden orioles sing amid the willows green; A flock of white egrets flies into the sky.
Li Yimei, who travels to the classes from Shanghai with her husband Du Fu, studied yoga in India.
He spent six weeks in Chengdu, in south-west China, working with local musicians and looking for inspiration at the Wuhou Temple, Kuaizhai Valley, Du Fu Thatched Cottage, Sichuan Opera and even the Chengdu Panda Base.
Since the eleventh century, many scholars have claimed Du Fu (712-770) as China's greatest poet.
In another translation, Du Fu's "SpringProspect," Watson does something similar.