Test Cover Image of:  The Poetry of Du Fu

The Poetry of Du Fu

Funded by: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Translated by: Stephen Owen
Compiled by: Ding Xiang Warner and Paul W. Kroll

The Complete Poetry of Du Fu presents a complete scholarly translation of Chinese literature alongside the original text in a critical edition. The English translation is more scholarly than vernacular Chinese translations, and it is compelled to address problems that even the best traditional commentaries overlook.
The main body of the text is a facing page translation and critical edition of the earliest Song editions and other sources. For convenience the translations are arranged following the sequence in Qiu Zhao’an’s Du shi xiangzhu (although Qiu’s text is not followed). Basic footnotes are included when the translation needs clarification or supplement. Endnotes provide sources, textual notes, and a limited discussion of problem passages. A supplement references commonly used allusions, their sources, and where they can be found in the translation.
Scholars know that there is scarcely a Du Fu poem whose interpretation is uncontested. The scholar may use this as a baseline to agree or disagree. Other readers can feel confident that this is a credible reading of the text within the tradition. A reader with a basic understanding of the language of Chinese poetry can use this to facilitate reading Du Fu, which can present problems for even the most learned reader.

Author Information

Stephen Owen, Harvard University, USA.


"To call Du Fu China‘s greatest poet grossly underestimates his importance. [...] Thus the first full translation of Du Fu‘s poems into English is a major event, and everyone involved in the study of Chinese literature owes Stephen Owen a great debt. That his edition of Du Fu‘s poems includes helpful annotation, such as explanatory footnotes, scholarly endnotes pointing out variants and justifying interpretations, and a guide to major allusions, makes it an invaluable scholarly tool. Moreover, the online version is open access, making it even more convenient for students and poetry lovers alike."
Nicholas Morrow Witliams in: China Review International: Vol. 21, Nos. 3 & 4, 2014

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Audience: All those interested in the Chinese literary tradition, in particular poetry