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Chu Ci 楚辞 – Top 100 Books in China

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The first collection of Romantic poetry in China

Overview

Chinese Name: 楚辞

English Name: Chu Ci

Other Name: Verses of Chu, Songs of Chu

Author: Qu Yuan 屈原, Liu Xiang 刘向

Originally Published: 475 BC to 221 BC(During the warring states period 战国时期)

Genre: Literature, Poetry

Brief Introduction of Chu Ci

Chu Ci is the first collection of romantic poems in The history of Chinese literature, written by Qu Yuan and organized by Liu Xiang. The book consists of 17 chapters. Qu Yuan’s works are the main part of the book, and the rest are also in the form of Qu Fu 屈赋. It is named Chu Ci because of its strong local color by using Chu’s literary style, dialect, rhyme and local conditions.

Chu Ci is of great significance to Chinese culture, especially in literature. It created the poetry of Chinese romantic literature. It can be found in almost every literary field and literature of different genres to varying degrees. After the 16th century, it even flowed into Europe. In the 19th century, Chu Ci attracted widespread attention in Europe and the United States.

The classic poem in Li Sao《离骚》中的经典诗句

Chu Ci uses the dialect of Chu to describe the characters of Chu mountains and rivers, historical customs, with a strong regional cultural color. Here, the poet expresses his depression and contradiction, rebukes the foolery of the King of Chu, the misdeeds of his servants and the political wrongs, and shows his fighting spirit of sticking to the good political ideal, attacking the dark reality and not colluding with the evil forces, and his patriotic passion to death. There were tributes and praises for the soldiers who died fighting for Chu. There are also descriptions of the attachment between the gods, showing deep yearning or the sadness of unsuccessful pursuit.

Chu-Ci-楚辞(屈原投江)-1
Qu Yuan’s conversation with a boatman before jumping into the Miluo River 屈原跳河自尽前与船家的对话

Author of Chu Ci

Chu Ci was created by Qu Yuan and collected by Liu Xiang.

Qu Yuan (340 BC — 278 BC) was a poet and statesman of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period. He was born in Zigui 秭归, Hubei Province 湖北省. Qu Yuan is the first great patriotic poet in Chinese history, the founder of Chinese romantic literature, known as the “Father of Chinese poetry 中华诗祖”, “the father of Ci Fu 辞赋之祖”. He is the founder and representative author of “Chu Ci”. Qu Yuan’s appearance marks that Chinese poetry has entered a new era from collective singing to individual creation. He was called “the soul of poetry 诗魂” by later generations.

Qu Yuan advocated appointing competent men and abiding by the law at home, and advocated uniting Qi Dynasty 齐国 to defeat Qin Dynasty 秦国 externally. Qu Yuan was ostracized and slandered by aristocrats, so he was exiled twice. In 278 BC, Grieving and angry, Qu Yuan committed suicide in the Miluo River.

Qu Yuan’s major works include Li Sao 离骚, Nine Songs 九歌, Nine Chapters 九章 and Tian Wen 天问, etc. Chu Ci, the origin of Chinese romantic literature, and Classic of Poetry 诗经, also known as the “Feng Sao 风骚”, had a profound influence on later poetry.

Chu-Ci-楚辞(屈原)
Qu Yuan 屈原

Liu Xiang (77 B. C. ~ 6 B. C.), originally named Liu Gengsheng, was born in Xuzhou 徐州, Jiangsu Province 江苏省. Bielu 别录, written by him, is the earliest public catalogue of books in China. He edited Chu Ci. He died at the age of seventy-two.

 

Chu-Ci-楚辞(刘向)
Liu Xiang 刘向

 

 

Excerpts From Chu Ci

举世皆浊我独清,众人皆醉我独醒。

THE WORLD IS BAD ONLY I CLEAN, NOT WITH OTHERS. THE WORLD WAS DRUNK, BUT I WAS SOBER.

尺有所短,寸有所长。

PEOPLE OR THINGS HAVE THEIR OWN GOOD PLACE, ALSO HAVE THEIR OWN SHORTCOMINGS AND CAN NOT REACH THE PLACE.

路曼曼其修远兮,吾将上下而求索。

THE ROAD AHEAD IS STILL LONG,BUT I WILL PERSEVERE AND SPARE NO EFFORT TO PURSUE AND EXPLORE.

Evaluation of Chu Ci

They began to criticize ancient things, emancipated their minds, and all kinds of academic schools fought for brilliance. People speak freely and say what others dare not.

Lu Xun 鲁迅

It uses the language of Chu, expresses the voice of the people of Chu, records the scenery of Chu, and describes the customs and customs of Chu.

Huang Bosi 黄伯思

Chu ci is like the sun, like a flower in spring, like a torch in the night, always inspiring and exciting countless generations of writers.

Zheng Zhenduo 郑振铎

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