, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 25-47

A controversial poet, a forgotten dynasty: Jin dynasty poets’ reception of Bai Juyi and its historical significance


A certain dispute that arose during the early Jin dynasty regarding Bai Juyi that seemed to be a coincidental occurrence was to some extent inevitable. On one hand, it foreshadowed the opposition that would later arise between followers of the Tang and Song stylistic schools; on the other, it represented both the Tang school poets’ disdain for the “ornamental avant-garde” poetry that was fashionable at the time as well as their own search for a new creative direction. The re-evaluation of Bai Juyi that occurred during that period, particularly the frequent comparison of Bai to Tao Yuanming, indicates that Bai Juyi’s poetry was widely accepted at the time, which itself represented not only a challenge to traditional perspectives, but also a historical landmark in Bai Juyi’s history of acceptance. Jin dynasty poets’ creative imitation of Bai Juyi’s carefree as well as his satirical poems spurred a maturation of Bai’s spirit of concern for self and reality, which later incorporated itself into the spirit of Chinese literati in general.

About the Contributor Shang Yongliang 尚永亮, Professor in Chinese Language and Literature Department, Shaanxi Normal University, obtained his PH. D. from the same school in 1987. His academic interests lie in Tang poetics. His published works include Tangdai wenren de shihuan shengya 唐代文人的仕宦生涯 (Official careers of Tang scholars), Tang-Song shi fenlei xuanjiang 唐宋诗分类选讲 (Assorted Tang-Song poems), and Bianzhe wenhua yu bianzhe wenxue 贬谪文化与贬谪文学 (Relegation culture and literature).