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Xiaofei Tian

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528448

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528448.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

History Channels

History Channels

Commemoration and Communication in Du Fu’s Kuizhou Poems

(p.41) 3 History Channels
Reading Du Fu

Gregory Patterson

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter reads Du Fu’s commemorative poems on Yu the Great and Zhuge Liang in light of the specific communicative conditions of the Three Gorges, the vital yet perilous channel of transport and trade on the Tang empire’s remote southwest frontier. It argues that the poems for both figures are distinguished by imaginings of commemorative form—comprising both the materiality of local monuments and the means by which they extend their influence to the wider world. Picturing Yu’s creation of Qutang Gorge, Du Fu considers the founding act of “channeling and carving” as a transformation of elemental matter into ordered space that models a heroic vision of poetic composition. His poems on Zhuge Liang’s monuments dwell on the threat of material decay, while visualizing connections between Zhuge’s temples and those of his lord and patron, Liu Bei. Taken together, these poems suggest how the Three Gorges activated Du Fu’s desire for communication with history and prompted imaginative reflection on the channels that made it possible.

Keywords:   Kuizhou, Three Gorges, commemorative poetry, communication, Yu the Great, Zhuge Liang, materiality, historical monuments, locality

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