Ouyang Xiu

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Ouyang Xiu (歐陽修; 欧阳修 style name: Yongshu 永叔; also known as Zuiweng 醉翁 and Liuyi Jushi 六一居士) (Wade-Giles: Ouyang Hsiu) (1007 - 1072) was a Chinese statesman, historian, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty.

He was born in Luling, Jizhou prefecture (in modern Jiangxi) into a relatively poor family, losing his father when he was four. Unable to afford traditional tutoring, he was largely self-taught. He passed the jinshi exam in 1030 and became a major establishment figure of the period, but independent thought continued to be one of his hallmarks. Politically, he was an early patron of the political reformer Wang Anshi, but later became one of his strongest opponents. In his late 20s, Ouyang lost a factional battle at court and was sent out to the provincial Chuzhou 滁州 (in modern Anhui).

In his prose works, he followed the example of Han Yu, promoting the Classical Prose Movement (古文運動). He was traditionally classed as one of the Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song. Among his most famous prose works is the Zuiweng ting ji (醉翁亭记), a description of his pastoral lifestyle among the mountains, rivers and people of Chuzhou. The work is lyrical in its quality and acclaimed as one of the highest achievements of Chinese travel writing.

As a historian, he has been criticised as overly didactic, but he played an important role in establishing the use of epigraphy as a historiographic technique.

His poems are generally relaxed, humorous, and often self-deprecatory; he gave himself the title "The Old Drunkard". He wrote both shi and ci. His shi are stripped-down to the essentials emphasised in the High Tang period, eschewing the ornate style of the Late Tang. He is best known, however, for his ci. In particular, his series of ten poems entitled "West Lake is Good" (西湖好) set to the tune "Picking Mulberries" (采桑子) helped to popularise the genre as a vehicle for serious poetry.

In 1072 Ouyang Xiu died in Yingzhou, Anhui province.


External links

zh:欧阳修

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