Continuing A Discussion On The Fu

by D.J. James from Story Traditions with James at 12:20 PM on 5·1·2011

This week’s episode continued the discussion of the Fu. As pointed out during the last show, the Fu is considered to be the gray area between poetry and prose. The poetic aspect provides the Fu with the metaphors, similes and allegories that give a poem its symbolic, rhythmic and meaningful nature. The prose aspect is an attribute that contributes to the Fu’s length. A Fu can be as long as a novel or as short as a few words. A champion of the Fu was Ssu-ma Ch’ien (145-86 BC). Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s most notable and lasting work is called Historical Records, which encompasses chronicles of political events of China, ranging from earliest prehistoric times to the author’s. This body of work has been compared to the works of Herodotus and Plutarch, only to exceed in complexity and depth. This week I read “Principle Annal of Hsiang Yü”, found in Historical Records. Enjoy.

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