Li Shang-yin

Li Shang-yin

Li Shang-yin (lēˈ shăngˌ-yĭnˈ), 813?–858, Chinese poet. Of his 598 extant works, the best known are untitled love poems that describe in rich, sensuous detail scenes of beautiful courtesans languishing in ornate boudoirs. Li also wrote more conventional poems—verses to friends and family, political satires, depictions of particular objects—and parallel prose essays.


See study by J. J. Y. Liu (1969).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Li Shang-Yin


(also Li I-shan). Born 813; died 858. Chinese poet.

Li Shang-yin left a heritage of many poems, which are superb in form but often difficult to understand, as was noted even by his contemporaries. Much of his work consists of love and nature lyrics, epistles to friends, and exposés of officials who oppressed the common people. An interest in man and human emotional experiences and descriptions of everyday life, which are characteristic of Li Shang-yin’s poetry, found an even more vivid expression in his prose Sayings, which were highly valued by Lu Hsün.


In Russian translation:
In Antologiia kitaiskoi poezii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957.
Tszatszuan’: Izrecheniia kitaiskikh pisatelei IX-XIX vv. Moscow, 1969.


Fishman, O. “Iz izrechenii Li Shan-inia.” Sovetskoe vostokovedenie, 1956, no. 4.
Chung-kuo wen-hsüeh shih, vol. 2. Peking, 1959. Pages 254–64.
Lin, J. J. Y. The Poetry of Li Shang-yin. Chicago-London, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Liu writes: "Li Shang-yin has been both admired and condemned for the highly allusive character of much of his poetry" (1969, 246).
Yves Hervouet, who has given us over the years many excellent studies of Han-dynasty texts, has published upon his retirement a long-meditated work on the fascinating and often difficult T'ang poet, Li Shang-yin. Although founded on a scholarly manuscript of several hundred pages that Hervouet says he labored over for more than twenty years and which was to be aimed at a Sinological audience, the present volume appears by the author's choice without footnotes, bibliography, or other scholarly apparatus in hope of attracting the general reading public.
The frontmatter of Hervouet's book includes essays on Li Shang-yin's life (pp.
Forty-eight of the poems rendered and discussed by Hervouet were also handled by Liu; most of these are the standard anthology pieces that must appear in any serious study of Li Shang-yin. For the convenience of readers who may wish to compare Hervouet's French with Liu's English versions, I provide the following finding list (the number to the left of the slash is Hervouet's, that to the right is Liu's): 1/86, 2/80, 3/55, 5/60, 6/61, 7/62, 8/63, 9/64, 10/58, 12/49, 13/73, 14/28, 16/29, 17/15, 18/16, 19/81, 22/30, 23/35, 26/98, 28/96, 29/47, 36/57, 38/53, 42/68, 44/46, 45/67, 53/1, 55/12, 56/6, 57/4, 58/5, 61/95, 64/83, 67/52, 68/2, 69/45, 70/50, 71/92, 78/19, 79/20, 80/17, 81/18, 85/21, 86/22, 87/23, 89/24, 92/39, 95/25.
Hervouet's remarks take the form of mature and beautifully organized lectures that add greatly to our appreciation of Li Shang-yin and his craft.