The ancient prose classics of landscape in China
Chinese Name: 河东先生集
English Name: Mr. Hedong Sets，Liu Hedong Sets
Author: Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元，Liu Yuxi 刘禹锡
Originally Published: A.D. 792-907
Genre: Literature, poems
Brief Introduction of Mr. Hedong Sets
Mr. Hedong Sets 河东先生集 is also called Liu Hedong Sets 柳河东集. It is the ancient prose classics of the landscape. Its author is Liu Zongyuan. This work was edited by Liu Zongyuan’s friend Liu Yuxi at his request after his death. It includes all of Liu Zongyuan’s poems and articles. The original edition is 30 volumes but has since been lost. The current version is volume 45. It is rich in content, mainly divided into philosophy, political theory, fable, landscape travel notes, biography.
Fable is good at revealing the social and political situation at that time or explaining the life truth by means of figurative and symbolic rhetoric. It compares the famous “San Jie” 三戒.
Liu Zongyuan’s landscape travel notes are excellent, which not only depict the quiet natural beauty of the motherland but also permeate the author’s life experience and depressed feelings, among which the representative work is Eight Records of Excursions in Yongzhou 永州八记.
The value of political works in the Mr. Hedong Sets is relatively high, such as “Theory of Feudal” 封建论, which shows Liu Zongyuan’s progressive political thought, with clear reasoning and rigorous argumentative.
Author of Mr. Hedong Sets
Mr. Hedong Sets was written by Liu Zongyuan and edited by Liu Yuxi.
Liu Zongyuan (773 AD — 819 AD) was a native of Shanxi Province 山西省. He was one of Eight Masters of the Tang and Song 唐宋八大家之一 and the main advocate of Classical Prose Movement 古文运动 in the Tang Dynasty 唐朝. He was also known as “Liu Hedong” 柳河东 and “Mr. Hedong” 河东先生.
Liu Zongyuan had a good family background and had been an official for generations. He had a keen interest in learning knowledge since childhood. Growing up in Chang ‘an 长安, he had seen and felt the corruption and incompetence of the imperial court and the crisis and turbulence of the society at that time.
When he was young, Liu Zongyuan was already famous and had a successful career in government. He participated in the Yong Zhen 永贞 reform led by Wang Shuwen 王叔文. After the failure of reform, Liu Zongyuan was repeatedly demoted as an official. He was also known as “Liu Liuzhou” 柳柳州 because he was appointed governor of Liuzhou.
In the winter of 819, Liu Zongyuan died of illness in Liuzhou. Liu Zongyuan’s life left more than 600 poems and articles and ” Mr. He Dong Sets ” spread in the world.
Liu Yuxi (772 ~842) was born in Luoyang 洛阳, Henan Province 河南省. He was a litterateur and philosopher in the Tang Dynasty. Liu Yuxi studied Confucian classics and wrote poems and Fu since he was young. He was smart and diligent. In 793, he took part in the Yong Zhen reform along with Liu Zongyuan, and when the reform failed, he was repeatedly demoted. In 842, Liu Yuxi died in Luoyang at the age of 71. Liu Yuxi’s poems and articles are excellent. Most of them are collected in the Liu Mengde Sets 刘梦得集.
Excerpts From Mr. Hedong Sets
Evaluation of Mr. He Dong Sets
Mr. Hedong Sets of articles is very imposing, grand, in a number of articles unsurpassed.
Ouyang Xiu 欧阳修
The words and sentences of Liu Zongyuan’s articles are rich and beautiful but simple, with profound and indifferent flavor.
Su Shi 苏轼