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Tang Studies 12 (1994) Chang Yueh: First Poet of the High Tang ZU-YANCHEN BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY The periodization of T'ang poetry has been a recurrent critical topic since the time of Yen Yu !l3J5J (1197-1241) in the late Sung.1 It was Kao Ping ittiW3 (1350-1423) who set in his T'ang-shih p'in-hui ~~t%. (A Classified CollectionofT'ang Poetry) the "standard" demarcations between the four distinct periods: Early T'ang, from the beginning of the dynasty to K'ai-yuan (618-712);High T'ang, K'aiyuan to Ta-li (713-766);Middle T'ang, Ta-li to the end of T'ai-ho (766835 ); and Late T'ang, K'ai-ch'eng to the end of the dynasty (836907 ).2 Kao Ping went on to arrange four hundred forty-six T'ang poets accordingly, providing emperors, women, and monks with their own special categories. Most later literary historians and anthologists have adopted this fourfold periodization with little hesitation. Kao Ping's scheme places Chang Yueh ~~ (667-731)in the Early T'ang and thus he has traditionally been considered an Early T'ang poet.3 But in fact, the year 713, the first year of K'ai-yiian and the 1 Although the origin of the periodization of T'ang poetry can be traced back to the T'ang dynasty itself, Yen Yii's Ts'ang-Iang shih-hua tir~w~15contains the first serious discussion in this regard. 2 Tang-shih p'in-hui, facsimile edition of the Ming wood-block edition (2 vols., Shanghai, 1982),1:18-45.Kao Ping's original sentence delineating the Middle T'ang says "from Ta-li to the end of Yiian-ho" (1:37). Because Kao Ping says the Late T'ang began from K'ai-ch'eng, i.e., 836, the Middle T'ang should rather end with T'ai-ho, 835, not Yiian-ho, 820. 3 According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Chang Yiieh died on the twenty-eighth day of the twelfth month of the eighteenth year of K'ai-yiian, which may be converted to February 9,731 in the Gregorian calendar. Because the eighteenth year of K'ai-yiian corresponds generally with 730, almost all reference and research books date Chang Yiieh's death in 730. This inaccuracy should be corrected, as discussed in Paul W. Kroll's "On the Date of Chang Yiieh's Death," Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 2.2 (1980): 264-65. On Chang Yiieh generally, see also Kroll's entry on him in The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (Bloomington, 1986),223-24,and my "Impregnable Phalanx and 1 Chen: Chang Yueh start of the so-called High T'ang, also began what was to be for Chang Yiieh a period of two decades during which he reached the summit of his political and literary career and also made a great contribution to High T'ang poetry. By exploring him and his milieu, this study proposes a shift in this regard-to consider Chang Yiieh not so much the last poet of the Early T'ang, as the first poet of the High T'ang. The question of Chang Yiieh's chronological classification was first raised by Ch'ien Ch'ien-i ~~~ (1582-1664) in his disparaging comments on the fourfold periodization: For three hundred years, up to the present, people have followed the false and erroneous theory [of the fourfold periodization]. The so-called Early, High, Middle, and Late Tang are based on a discussion of time and of writers. If we discuss the time in terms of the writers, Chang Yiieh and Chang Chiu-ling are generally recognized masters of the Early T'ang. But because Chang Yiieh's poems became sorrowful and graceful after his Yiieh-chou period -he seemingly benefited from the rivers and mountains-Chang Yiieh should be a poet of both the Early T'ang and the High T'ang as well.4 The comments here on Chang Yiieh's poetry style allude to his political career. In 713Chang Yiieh was demoted from the premiership to be prefect of Hsiang-chou itHi'l (modem An-yang in Honan...


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