Song Yu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Song.

Song Yu (Chinese: 宋玉; Wade–Giles: Sung Yü, fl. 3rd century BCE) was a writer of Chinese poetry, particularly writing in a style connected with the State of Chu. Song Yu is commonly said to have been a nephew of Qu Yuan, but reliable biographical information is scant. Song Yu is also said to have been a student of Qu Yuan. What is known of the poetic style attributed to Qu Yuan and Song Yu supports their inclusion in a "Chu Ci" poetic style; and, in the most important anthology in this regard, the Chu Ci, Song Yu has several poems attributed to him. Among the Chu Ci poems usually attributed to Song Yu, are those in the Jiu Bian section. Also credited to Song Yu, somewhat improbably, are several fu collected in Xiao Tong's 6th century Literary Anthology[1]


Biographic information about Song Yu tends to be anecdotal, rather than truly historical.[2] Born in a poor family, Song Yu held posts as Attendant of Letters in the court, but never realized his ambition. After Qu Yuan's death, he became the major writer of "cifu" (a literary form, sentimental or descriptive composition, often rhymed, especially in the Han Dynasty and Cao Wei).


According to the section of Literature and Art in Book of Han, Song has altogether written 16 pieces of work, but only 14 of them have been handed down, such as Jiu Bian and Dengtuzi Haose Fu (登徒子好色赋). What is more, it is doubted if, with the exception of Jiu Bian, these works are written by Song at all. Wang Yi the noted Chu Ci anthologist and commentator also attributes the "Zhao Hun" (Summons of the Soul" to Song Yu.[3] As a writer of cifu, Song is an accomplished successor to Qu Yuan with his own original style. In the fu poems attributed to Song Yu in the Wen Xuan literary anthology compiled by Xiao Tong (501-531), the poems appear in the context of a purported dialog between Song Yu and King Xiang of Chu, in which the King requests a fu on a certain subject; however, this is likely to be a literary device deployed by a later author, rather than an authentic historical record of a real event.[4] Song's name has long been put together with Qu Yuan as "Qu-Song". Qu Yuan is known for writing poems with a strong personal voice. Song Yu's main general contribution to Classical Chinese poetry may be the development of the theme of nature together with an implicit sense of inherent pathos.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hawkes, 207-8
  2. ^ Hawkes, 207-208
  3. ^ Hawkes, 208
  4. ^ Hawkes, 207-208
  5. ^ Hawkes, 208


External links[edit]