Entertainment Du Fu: China’s Greatest Poet, BBC4, review: Too much biography, not enough poetry

08:10  07 april  2020
08:10  07 april  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

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‘These poets create the very standard by which great poetry is judged.' But though in the east Du In China , poets have always been seen as the trusted chroniclers of the people’ s hearts and the And for the Chinese , Du Fu is ' more than a poet ,' says Wood. 'For generations he has been the guardian

Du Fu , Chinese poet , considered by many literary critics to be the greatest of all time. Born into a scholarly family, Du Fu received a traditional Confucian As a result, he spent much of his youth traveling. During his travels he won renown as a poet and met other poets of the period, including the

Michael Wood sitting on a bench © Provided by The i Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Du Fu: China’s Greatest Poet, BBC4, 9pm ★★★

If you had an hour to explain Shakespeare’s appeal to people who had never heard of him, how would you use it? That was the sort of question facing the makers of BBC4’s Du Fu: China’s Greatest Poet, about a poet central to Chinese culture but mostly unknown in the UK.

The resulting documentary got half way there. Most of the hour was devoted to Du Fu’s biography, with some of his poems read in English in a slow, resonant manner by Sir Ian McKellen.

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China ' s favourite poets were born 1,300 years ago but their themes are still relevant today - from friendship Every Chinese person learns poems by Li Bai, and the country's other favourite poet , Du Fu As one of them put it, people do not have much time for poetry nowadays. But most could still

Du Fu (Wade–Giles: Tu Fu ; Chinese : 杜甫; 712 – 770) was a Chinese poet and politician of the Tang dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Po), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets . His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant

However, I am not convinced that lovers of Shakespeare would tell you his life story above all else. First, you would surely explain his writing’s significance to ordinary people; that sold-out crowds still gather to watch his plays in theatres around the country; and that many of the words and phrases we use today had their roots in Shakespeare’s writing.

Ian McKellen standing in front of a building © Provided by The i This documentary touched on Du Fu's cultural impact, but didn't give us much to work with. A short segment where presenter Michael Wood interviewed Du Fu fans at the poet’s birthplace was the highlight: one explained that Du Fu’s love for his country resonates with modern Chinese people; while another said that the rise of the internet has boosted his popularity, but we didn't get to hear a full explanation as to why.

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Certainly, Du Fu was much more down-to-earth in comparison with Li Bai' s wandering restlessness. His poetry shows a concern for civil society, and Most of what is known of Du Fu ’ s life comes from his own poems . Like many other Chinese poets , he came from a noble family which had fallen into

The Poetry of Du Fu (Library of Chinese Humanities). William Hung has translated over 300 of Tu Fu ' s poems in prose style along with fascinating biographical information. There have been several more recent books translating poems of Tu Fu (sometimes spelled Du Fu ), and some are quite good

Du Fu’s words in translation, even without full understanding of their context, are beautiful. It is also true that his biography adds to their resonance. Born in AD712, he rose to the heights of working for China’s emperor, only to be forced into a life of poverty and itinerancy by revolution and war.

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But I was still left wanting to know the basics: do the poems rhyme in the original? Did he use traditional or inventive forms? What lines do ordinary people know by heart, or find the most beautiful? My interest was piqued, so in that sense, at least, the programme succeeded.

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