Chinese Studies Forum: Lecture 3 | Why is Du Fu known as a Sage Poet?

On the morning of April 13, 2019, the 3rd session of IIAS Chinese Studies was held at Conference Room 205 of the Central Main Building of Tsinghua University.
Prof. Xie Siwei from the Chinese Department of Tsinghua University gave a lecture on the topic “Why is Du Fu known as a Sage Poet?”.

The lecture was divided into two parts, targeting at reasons of the times and personal reasons of Du Fu becoming a sage poet.
At the beginning of the event, Professor Xie quoted the poetry of Meng Di, Ouyang Xiu and Zhao Yi as a foreshadowing to explain why Du Fu became a sage poet of the times.

Next, he elaborated on Du Fu’s personal reasons for becoming a “sage poet” from two aspects, namely Du Fu’s spiritual growth and his lifetime pursuit of poetry.

Finally, Professor Xie discussed the social and historical reasons, based on the achievements of poets in the past and inseparable from his personal efforts. The emergence of a sage poet is a symbol of the artistic achievements of poetry in a nation and an era. It is natural but also unpredictable. Prof. Xie asked the students present, “Amidst today’s noise of the crowd, can we still expect the emergence of a ‘sage poet’ like Du Fu?” The audience started active discussion and interaction on this question.

Speaker profile:

Xie Siwei, Professor of Chinese Department of Tsinghua University, President of China Bai Juyi Society. Doctoral Supervisor and Deputy Director of the Chinese Classical Literature Research Center of Tsinghua University. He graduated from Beijing Normal University with a bachelor’s degree in 1982 and received a master’s degree in 1984 and stayed as a lecturer. In 1996, he received a Ph.D degree from Beijing Normal University. He was taught by Mr. Qi Gong. His publications include “Zen and Chinese Literature”, “Bai Juyi Collection”, “Tang Song Poetry Collection”, “Bai Juyi Collection of Poetry Notes”, “Bai Juyi Collection of Collection Notes”, “Tang Dynasty Literary Spirit”, “Du Fu Collection” and “Tang Poetry and Tang History Collection”.