“The Writing of Imperial Poetry in Medieval China”

Chen JW. “The Writing of Imperial Poetry in Medieval China.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 2005.


Jack W. Chen finds much of significance in imperial poetry, or poetry written by emperors, a subgenre that has been generally ignored by literary critics. Making Tang Taizong the central focus of his article, Chen characterizes the imperial poetic voice. He accepts that the imperial role constrained Taizong’s expression of individual personality. At the same time Chen analyzes writings by preceding rulers, beginning with Han Wudi, to demonstrate that Taizong used his own careful readings of earlier imperial poets to craft a poetic voice and identity that situated him within a literary generalogy, as well as to rethink poetry’s relationship to sovereign representation.

Last updated on 03/09/2021