Library of Chinese Classics: The Complete Works of Tao Yuanming (Chinese-English Edition)
Tao Yuanming/Wang R.(translated)
Hunan People's Publishing House
278 pag. hardcover 16 x 24 cm
Poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty and generally regarded as being one of the foremost pre-Tang poets after Qu Yuan in the history of Chinese poetry. A native of Chaisang (present-day Jiangxi), Tao's family belonged to the Xi minority, and although it boasted some illustrious forebears was poor by the time of the poet's birth. Around the age of 30, Tao served in local government but resigned his post not long afterwards. Other postings followed, but these too were of short duration. He abandoned his post and returned to the country life because he was not satisfied with the social realities of his day. He spent some 22 years in retirement, supporting his family by farming. Talented in various genres of prose and poetry, he described in his writings the natural beauty and his rustic life, permeated with his antipathy for the privileged and his aloofness in the status quo.
Over 120 pieces of Tao's writing have survived, many of them written in a philosophical vein. He was a precursor of a type of pastoral landscape poetry known as tianyuan shi, and favored themes such as drinking and rustic life. The Tang poetry was under the direct influence of Tao Yuanming, especially the landscape poems and pastoral poems by Wang Wei, Meng Haoran, Chu Guangxi, Wei Yingwu and Liu Zongyuan. In the Song Dynasty, Tao Yuanming's personality and works were held in very high esteem. Since the Song Dynast, "plainness" and "naturalness" have become the fixed attributes to Tao Yuanming's poems, and Tao Yuanming has occupied an important place in the history of Chinese literature. Tao is also renowned for two prose works, Taohua yuan ji [A Record of Peach-blossom spring] about a utopia untouched by the ravages of civilization and Wuliu xiansheng zhuan [Biography of Mr Five Willows].
The Complete Works of Tao Yuanming comprises over 120 plain and sincere poems plus 11 simple and lucid prose essays, which have exerted great influence in the history of Chinese literature and have been circulated in many countries all over the world