Lu Ji was a descendant of the founders of Eastern Wu and son of the general Lu Kang. After Wu was subjugated by the Jin Dynasty in 280, he along with his brother Lu Yun moved to the capital, Luoyang, where he became prominent in both literature and politics and was made president of the imperial university. "He was too scintillating for the comfort of his jealous contemporaries; in 303 he, along with his two brothers and two sons, was put to death on a false charge of high treason."
Lu Ji wrote much lyric poetry but is better known for writing fu, a mixture of prose and poetry. He is best remembered for the Wen fu 文賦 ("On Literature"), a piece of literary criticism that discourses on the principles of composition. Achilles Fang wrote of it:
The Wen-fu is considered one of the most articulate treatises on Chinese poetics. The extent of its influence in Chinese literary history is equaled only by that of the sixth-century The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons of Liu Hsieh. In the original, the Wen-fu is rhymed, but does not employ regular rhythmic patterns: hence the term "rhymeprose."
The first translation into English is by Chen Shixiang, who translated it into verse because, although the piece was rightly called the beginning of Chinese literary criticism, Lu Zhi wrote it as poetry.