Poetry and Career of Li Po (Arthur Waley) pdf, epub, doc

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The first English-language biography of China's most celebrated poet (李白, romanized as Li Po, Li Bo, or Li Bai, depending on which system you use, though at the time his name was probably pronounced something like Li Bak), popular Sinologist Arthur Waley undertook an enormous task with verve and lucidity. Waley is a skilled writer, and weaves a coherent biographical narrative out of evidence scattered poems, letters, inscriptions, and early biographical notes. Furthermore, he uses Li Bo's life as a entry point into a survey of the major events in 8th-century (CE) China: the constant changing of power at the courts, the chaos leading to and culminating in the An Lushan Rebellion, the circles of Daoist (Taoist) alchemy, the vagaries of a wandering, jobless poet's life. For all this, I applaud Waley's efforts.

Yet the account given is in fact quit unsympathetic to the poet. The book was originally written for a series titled "Ethical and Religious Classics, East and West," the stated goal of which was "to place the chief ethical and religious masterpieces of the world, both Christian and non-Christian, within easy reach of the intelligent reader who is not necessarily an expert." Set in this context, Li Bo is obviously a profligate, recognized by his contemporaries for his poetic genius, wildly flashing eyes, and perpetual drunkenness. Indeed, Waley ends his book by calling Li Bo "boastful, callous, dissipated, irresponsible and untruthful" - adjectives which could describe most artistic geniuses, from Aristophanes to Tao Qian to Shakespeare to Byron to Picasso to Welles. For this, I withhold my applause of Waley's efforts.

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Poetry and Career of Li Po (Arthur Waley) pdf, epub, doc

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Allen & Unwin Australia
  • File: 3.4 Mb
  • Ganre: Poetry
  • Release: 02.06.1951
  • ISBN: 9780048950123
  • Pages 0
  • Rating: 4.53 (12 votes)

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