Cai, Zong-qi. The Matrix of Lyric Transformation: Poetic Modes and Self-Presentation in Early Chinese Pentasyllabic Poetry. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1996. Includes an insightful study of Ruan Ji in the course of lyric genre transformation and poetic expression of the self and cultural identity.
Criddle, Reed Andrew. “Rectifying Lasciviousness Through Mystical Learning: An Exposition and Translation of Ruan Ji’s Essay on Music.” Asian Music 38, no. 2 (Summer, 2007): 44-72. While this article focuses on an essay on music written by Ruan Ji, it also provides background information and a context for understanding Ruan Ji’s poetry.
Holzman, Donald. Chinese Literature in Transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 1998. Covers roughly the period from 221 b.c.e. through 960 c.e., placing Ruan Ji in context. Generous bibliographic references.
_______. Immortals, Festivals, and Poetry in Medieval China: Studies in Social and Intellectual History. Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 1998. Excellent for understanding Ruan Ji’s poetry in context. Includes bibliographical references and index.
_______. Poetry and Politics: The Life and Works of Juan Chi, A.D. 210-263. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976. A full-length critical study of Ruan Ji’s life and literary achievements. An extension of his 1953 publication on Ruan Ji.
Watson, Burton, ed. The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984. An excellent anthology. As no special collections of Ruan Ji’s poems in English translation are available, this is a good place to locate his poems in English and discussions of the Chinese poetry of retreat.
Yu, Pauline. “The Poetry of Retreat.” In Masterworks of Asian Literature in Comparative Perspective, edited by Barbara Stoler Miller. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1994. A thoughtful discussion of Ruan Ji in the Chinese poetic tradition of the recluse, along with other poets such as Tao Qian and Xie Lingyun. Includes provocative comments on Ruan Ji’s eighty-two “Poems Singing My Thoughts” and the conflict between his fidelity to Confucian principles of service and his interest in Daoist mysticism.