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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter seeks to give a historical overview of elite shi, popular shi, fu, and Chuci forms up until 1000 ce, emphasizing the role of traditional theoretical perspectives in shaping or problematizing modern views. In the case of shi, these perspectives include the Mao school’s interpretation of the Shijing; the retroactive creation of a shi tradition by pre-Tang court anthologists and critics in an attempt to privilege elite participation; the explosion of shi composition among the literate classes from the eighth century on due to its significant role in social exchange and in civil service examinations, and the concomitant decline of court aesthetics; the gradual triumph of a self-expressive and autobiographical model for shi composition; and the elite tradition’s general disregard for forms of verse production that did not fit its ideals. In discussing fu and Chuci, it is important to note its changing social roles as well as continuing existence.

Keywords: poetry, shi, fu, Chuci, yuefu, genre, Shijing

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