Tang Era Poetry

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss two of China’s greatest poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, who wrote in the 8th century in the Tang Era. Li Bai (701-762AD) is known for personal poems, many of them about drinking wine, and for finding the enjoyment in life. Du Fu (712-770AD), a few years younger, is more of an everyman, writing in the upheaval of the An Lushan Rebellion (755-763AD). Together they have been a central part of Chinese culture for over a millennium, reflecting the balance between the individual and the public life, and one sign of their enduring appeal is that there is rarely agreement on which of them is the greater.

The image above is intended to depict Du Fu.

With

Tim Barrett
Professor Emeritus of East Asian History at SOAS, University of London

Tian Yuan Tan
Shaw Professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow at University College

And

Frances Wood
Former Curator of the Chinese Collections at the British Library

Producer: Simon Tillotson