Tao Qian, the idea of garden as home, and the Utopian vision

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-375
Journal / PublicationInternational Communication of Chinese Culture
Volume3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

Abstract

Tao Qian or Tao Yuanming (365 – 427), one of the greatest poets in classical Chinese literature, has traditionally been regarded as “the paragon of hermit poets” for withdrawing himself from a minor office to be close to nature as a farmer, and for writing about his life in the country, about home-coming to his own garden, and about an imaginary ideal society in the “Peach Blossom Spring.” How do we understand Tao Qian and his poetry in the context of the Chinese literary tradition in general and of his own time—the Wei-Jin period—in particular? What is the significance of his idea of garden as home? And how does his work give expression to a Chinese vision of an ideal society? This essay will try to explore these questions and argue for the perennial appeal of the Utopian vision in China and beyond.