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Du Fu

Author, Chinese
Du Fu (also known in English as Tu Fu) lived at the height of the Tang dynasty in eighth-century China. He is considered by many to be the greatest poet in Chinese literature. Du Fu was a master of the lushi, an eight-line variety of jintishi, or regulated verse, with strict rules. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and his last fifteen years were a time of almost constant unrest. Although initially he was little-known to other writers, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese literary culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems have been preserved over the ages. He has been called the “Poet-Historian” and the “Poet-Sage” by Chinese critics, while the range of his work has allowed him to be introduced to Western readers as “the Chinese Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Béranger, Hugo, or Baudelaire.” (Photo credit: image courtesy of Quotes)