This article explores Du Fu's political outlook by comparing his career with that of his contemporary Yuan Jie. These two men knew of each other from their late youth. Both started their official careers late; both were interested in withdrawal and the retired life. But where Du Fu abandoned his official career from 759, to lead an itinerant life dependent on others for support, Yuan went on to serve under dangerous conditions. When in 767 Du Fu read two angry poems in which Yuan Jie as governor of Daozhou in Hunan in 764 had charged central government commissioners with extortionate tax demands, he expressed fulsome admiration for Yuan's stand. This article agrees with Daniel Hsieh (Tang Studies 32 (2014): 1–20, "Meeting Through Poetry: Du Fu's 杜甫 (712–770) 'Written in Accord with Prefect Yuan's "Ballad of Chongling"'") that Du Fu in his tribute to Yuan intended to justify his own identity as a poet, contrasting his literary achievement with Yuan Jie's as a serving official. But it also provides a different perspective on their relationship to explain Du Fu's reluctance to let Yuan see his tribute.


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pp. 81-110
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