Yüan Chen

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yüan Chen


(also Wei-chih). Born 779 in Honan; died 831. Chinese poet and writer of short fiction.

Yüan Chen sought to revive the genre of yüeh-fu. He described in verse the important events of his time and the recent past, the suffering of the people, and the abuses of rulers and officials. He was the author of a cycle of lyric poems on civic motifs, Verses on Old Themes in the Yüeh-fu Genre. In the narrative poem Lien-ch’ang Palace he harshly criticized life at the imperial court, which had helped lead the country to internecine strife and ruin. His The Story of Ying-ying (Russian translation, 1955) described the love between a poor student and a girl from a noble family in a psychologically believable narrative style. The heroine, who decides to violate the rigid dogmas of Confucian morality, is one of the most remarkable female characters in Chinese literature. The tale was imitated and reworked by other writers, for example, Wang Shih-fu in his play The Western Chamber.


Yüan shih ch’angch’ing chi, vols. 1–2. Peking, 1956.
In Russian translation:
In Guliaka i volshebnik: Tanskie novelly (VII-IX vv.). Moscow, 1970.


Pozdneeva, L. D. “K voprosu ob obshchestvenno-politicheskikh i filosofskikh vzgliadakh poeta luán’ Chzhenia.” In Sbornik statei po istorii stran Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1952.
Sokolova, I. I. “K voprosu o podlinnosti teksta ‘Povesti ob In-in.’” In the collection Literatura i fol’klor narodov Vostoka. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.