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On Fang Hui's Selection of Du Fu's Seven-syllabic Regulated Verses in Ying-kui Lyu-sui
Fang Hui’s Ying-kui Lyu-su (瀛奎律髓 ), an anthology that compiles regulated verses of the Tang and the Song dynasties, distinguishes itself by championing Du Fu’s mellow gediao (格調， character and style) and the prosodic rules of Jiangxi poetic school. It does so in the hope of rectifying the overtly rhetorical mannerism à la the late Tang, which were evermore popular in the poetic society in Fang’s time. Ying-kui Lyu-su includes a large amount of Du Fu’s seven-syllable regulated verses, and, providing critiques with virtuoso sensibility, makes selections that well represent Du’s poetic achievements over his entire writing life. With such clear designation, Du Fu’s lofty style was widely recognized and, as a contrast, Xu Hun’s enfeebled writings renounced. Indeed, it is because of Fang’s heralding promotion that Du’s poetic character of sublimity and pathos became the paragon of seven-syllable regulated verses ever since. In the history of seven-syllable regulated verses, and in the canonization of Du’s poetry, Fang’s Ying-kui Lyu-su plays a most important role, with which none of the subsequent anthologies compiled in the Ming or the Qing Dynasty can compare.
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