Du Fu

Du Fu ( Tu Fu also ,杜甫Chinese, Pinyin you Fǔ; * 712 in a circle Gong east of Luoyang, Henan Province; † 770 in the area of Tangzhou (now Changsha ), Hunan Province) was one of the most important poets of the Chinese Tang dynasty, a contemporary of the poet Li Bai. His epithets were you Shaoling (杜少陵) or you Gongbu (杜 工部). A second popular nickname given to him have given Chinese critics, is Shisheng (诗圣, holy poets ' ), a counterpart to the wise philosopher, Confucius.


Du Fu first four decades of life fall into the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, under which the Tang Empire experienced a cultural flowering. His father was a district official in the province of Henan. Since his mother died early, he was raised by an aunt. The apprenticeship and journeyman years you spent in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River Fu. 736 he returned to the capital Chang'an - with one million inhabitants at that time believed to be the largest city in the world - back to participate in the Civil Service Examination. He failed at the first attempt: not for lack of talent, but because of lack of family influence.

744 he first met Li Bai / Li Po and there was a friendship, however, was very one-sided. Du Fu was a few years younger than Li Bai and still a beginner, while this was already a famous poet. One knows twelve poems by Du Fu on or about Li Bai, but only two in the reverse direction.

752 You Fu was an extraordinary examination, to him, however, an official 755 site was allocated three years passed, what was common. Finally, he got a job as an aide in the palace guard of the Crown Prince. In the meantime, his youngest son died of hunger.

The central event in Du Fu's life was. An Lushan Rebellion of 755, at times he was even taken prisoner by the rebels, the rest of his life he spent in almost constant restlessness 760 he came to Chengdu ( Sichuan Province ), where he made ​​his famous " grass hut " built in the suburbs. In the autumn of this year he got financial difficulties and therefore sent poems as a request for help to different addresses. Finally took him to Yan Wu, a friend and former colleague, who had become 762 governor of Chengdu beginning. Back in July, you had to walk in front of a rebellion of the city to flee, but he returned to 764 and was advisor to Yan Wu, but died the following year. The poems of his life You show Fu malaria drawn again restlessly on the go. He died 770 homeless and destitute on a boat trip.


Du Fu dominated the modern and the old style, but he is especially true as the master of " strict Reims ", the eight pairs of rows, each with five or seven characters written Lüshi, in which the third and the fourth pair, both grammatically and have to make exact parallels in content and the word sounds had to follow a strict schedule. Because since the Tang period, a tone is lost and also otherwise often no longer correspond to the sounds, the qualities of a Tang poem for a modern Chinese can be seen only with difficulty.

The poet likes to play with homophones: In a word, so also sound different words written on. By double occupation of individual words in a few characters, he is able to concentrate a maximum of sense. Famous for is about the poem autumn, one of the most important and most difficult works of classical Chinese poetry.

In contrast to the poems of Li Bai's poems his often represent a political protest dar. Du Fu describes social injustice, famine and chaos from the perspective of ordinary people. Become a household word is a verse from the song in five hundred characters of my feelings while traveling from the capital to the circle Fengxian, of which the extravagance of the rich contrasts on the eve of An Lushan Rebellion of 755 with the misery of the common people.

"Behind high vermilion gates stink meat and wine The streets of the bones of the frozen members lined up. "

The vast majority of the more than 1,400 traditional poems comes from the troubled last 15 years of his life. Extremely unusual for that time was that Du Fu this life - and therein also the private life - makes the subject. Also characteristic is a certain self- irony. Du Fu occurs so that his readers already in the 8th century as a subject contrary to what has been achieved in the West only in the Italian Renaissance, such as Petrarch. In addition, in China poems were often written as much, dedication, farewell or for parties, and so it is possible you largely to reconstruct Fus life from his poems.

However, the authorship of many of the poems attributed to him is hypothetical. The compiled shortly after his death selection of his works, which should have included 290 poems, has been lost. The earliest surviving anthology that includes poems by Du Fu, dates from the period around 900 as the standard edition is now issuing Qiu Zhaoao ( 1638-1713 ), which includes 23 roles.


During his lifetime and immediately after his death, Du Fu was not recognized, which was probably due to his innovative style. However, his influence grew with time. He was based in part to its ability to reconcile apparent opposites: Political conservatives were attracted by his loyalty to the established order, while the radicals appreciated his commitment to the poor. Literary conservatives admired his masterful technique, literary radicals were inspired by his innovations.

Within China, You Fu applies now as the culmination of classical Chinese poetry, outside of China, he influenced the Japanese poetry, especially that of Matsuo Basho. In the West, however, rather his contemporary Li Bai Bai Juyi of a generation younger, were well appreciated. While there is a rich literature by and about Du Fu in the English language, he was present in Germany for a long time only in anthologies.

The Austrian diplomat and sinologist Erwin von Zach asked by many Chinese poets, including you forth Fu, prose paraphrases that have no literary claim. They should serve sinologist and Nachdichtern as raw material. This used 1956, writers Werner Helwig, who himself could not speak Chinese to play by 50 poems by Du Fu in the near prose versions. It was not until 2009, first given to a selection of 100 poems directly from Chinese into German Sinologist Raphael cellar.

In Hermann Hesse's story Klingsor's Last Summer identify the title character and her poet friend Hermann with Li Bai (Li Tai Pe) and Du Fu ( Thu Fu ).