Cambridge Chinese Classics
剑桥中国传统文化研习社

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《滕王阁序》 Teng Wang Ge Xu

Introduction

Teng Wang Ge Xu was a piece of Chinese literature written by Wang Bo, a poet in early Tang Dynasty. Wang Bo, as one of the Four Literary Eminences in Early Tang, wrote this prose on his way to visit his family, when passed Nanchang while the local governor was hosting a feast for the refurbishment of a pavilion, the Teng Wang Ge. This was the foreword for the poem collections written at that occasion.

Teng Wang Ge Xu was written with a literary style called Piantiwen (parallel prose), which started from Han dynasty under the influence of Fu poetry, and flourished during the Six Dynasties and Early Tang. Piantiwen is characterised by its parallel, antithetic sentences with rigid structure, usually made up of four-character and six-character lines. The language, which can either be rhythmic or non-rhythmic, is filled with ornate wording and literary quotations.

The text starts by describing the geographical locations of the place, elaborating the exclusively magnificent and blessed natural and cultural sceneries, praising the virtue and talent of the host and guests, gradually transits to the expression of Wang Bo's in-depth sadness over his fate and the course of the Universe.

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