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A Little Primer of Tu Fu [Paperback]

David Hawkes
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1988 9627255025 978-9627255024 Revised
The standard introduction to the poetry of Tu Fu (712-770) regarded by many Chinese as their country's greatest poet. The thirty-five poems from the well-known Chinese anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems are each accompanied by a detailed and lively explication of form, historical background and meaning. At the same time, inclusion of Chinese characters, romanization, and both literal and prose translations offer the general reader or beginning language student the rare chance to savor the poet's art first hand.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Renditions Paperbacks; Revised edition (November 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9627255025
  • ISBN-13: 978-9627255024
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,071,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine handbook for those who can read Chinese May 7, 2006
This book is out of print and almost impossible to find used. A copy recently sold for $170 on ebay. But it is a testament to its high quality that people are willing to spend that much to own it.

Tu Fu (AD 712-770) and his contemporary Li Po are the two great masters of Tang Dynasty poetry. To greatly simplify, Li Po is the Taoist free spirit, while Tu Fu is the Confucian, concerned for the welfare of China, from the peasant on up to the emperor. While Li Po's touching and often whimsical accounts of wine and song under moonlight are perennial favorites with audiences around the world, Tu Fu is often considered harder to translate, and hence less accessible to those who do not read Chinese. However, poet and critic Kenneth Rexroth expressed the view that Tu Fu was THE greatest non-epic poet that the world has ever produced, in any language.

David Hawkes was for many years a professor of Chinese at Oxford. He has also published what is perhaps the definitive translation of the great Chinese novel _Story of the Stone_ (also known as _Dream of the Red Chamber_). In _A Little Primer of Tu Fu_, Hawkes has taken thirty-five of Tu Fu's most highly regarded poems, and provided for each

1. the original Chinese text

2. the pronunciation of the text (in Pinyin romanization with tones)

3. a note on the "Title and Subject" of the poem, including a discussion of the poem's context in Chinese history and Tu Fu's life

4. a discussion of the "Form" of the poem ("regulated verse," "old style" etc.), including meter and rhyme

5. a line-by-line "Exegesis" of the poem, which translates each line word-by-word and comments, typically after each couplet, on the word choice, imagery, etc.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comments on A lITTLE pRIMER OF dU fU February 12, 2010
Containsall DuFu's [pems from the Chinese anthology, 300 Tang Poems. Translations. Chinese text and pinyin romanization. First rate .
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Clarity April 29, 2005
This book serves as a good general introduction to Chinese poetry. It explains some of the conventions of historical verse forms, and the way they are used by this poet. For the poems of Tu Fu, it provides both a bare-bones, line-by-line translation of the displayed Chinese text, and a good English version of each poem. There is also interesting commentary on the poems, and details of the poet's life.

This is a memorable book.
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