Written by: Li Po
Written by: Tu Fu
Introduction by: Arthur Cooper
Translated by: Arthur Cooper
Notes by: Arthur Cooper

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140442724
  • 256 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Li Po (AD 701-62) and Tu Fu (AD 712-70) were devoted friends who are traditionally considered to be among China’s greatest poets. Li Po, a legendary carouser, was an itinerant poet whose writing, often dream poems or spirit-journeys, soars to sublime heights in its descriptions of natural scenes and powerful emotions. His sheer escapism and joy is balanced by Tu Fu, who expresses the Confucian virtues of humanity and humility in more autobiographical works that are imbued with great compassion and earthy reality, and shot through with humour. Together these two poets of the T’ang dynasty complement each other so well that they often came to be spoken of as one – Li-Tu’ – who covers the whole spectrum of human life, experience and feeling.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Li Po and Tu FuAcknowledgments
Pronounciation of Chinese Words and Names
Note on the Chinese Calligraphy
1. “Li-Tu”
2. The Background to their Times
3. Li Po
4. Tu Fu
5. The Background to T’ang Poetry: The Beginnings: The ‘Book of Odes’, the Language and Script
6. The Background to T’ang Poetry: The Ch’u Tz’u
7. The Background to T’ang Poetry: The Ballads and the Principles of Chinese Syllabic Metre
8. A Demonstration by Ballad
9. The Approach to Translation in this Book
10. The Tones and the ‘Chinese Sonnet’
11. Reading the Poems in English

Li Po

Tu Fu

List of Titles
Index of First Lines