Li Ch'ing-chao Criticism - Essay

Kai-Yu Hsu (essay date December 1962)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Hsu, Kai-Yu. “The Poems of Li Ch'ing-chao (1084-1141).” PMLA 77 (December 1962): 521-28.

[In the following essay, Hsu presents an overview of Li Ch'ing-chao's life and her writing, from her early poems to the more serious verse she composed after her husband's death. The critic also discusses the poet's contribution to the development of classical Chinese poetry.]

Light breeze and fine rain, soughing and soughing
Again quicken the endless tears.
The flute player is gone, leaving an empty pavilion;
Forlorn. Who is to lean on the railing together with me?
Picking a twig of beauty, but—
                    On earth or in heaven—
                    To whom...

(The entire section is 5962 words.)

Pin-Ching Hu (essay date 1966)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Hu, Pin-Ching. “The Works of Li Ch'ing-chao.” In Li Ch'ing-chao, pp. 41-77. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1966.

[In the following excerpt, Hu characterizes Li Ch'ing-chao as a purely lyrical and aesthetic poet, showing how her love of nature, her profound sensibility, her love for her husband, and her desire to be free and natural inform her poetry. Hu also describes the poet's critical views, her use of language, and the major themes in her work.]


A great poet should have three fundamental qualities: sensibility, ideals, and creative power. Without sensibility, a poet would not be able to endow...

(The entire section is 12686 words.)

Ling Chung (essay date October 1975)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Chung, Ling. “Li Ch'ing-chao: Another Side of Her Complex Personality.” Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association 10, no. 3 (October 1975): 126-36.

[In the following excerpt, Chung explores several elements of Li Ch'ing-chao's poetry, including her ability to convey feelings implicitly, her use of delicate metaphors and natural imagery, her mysticism, and her satirical views on contemporary politics, remarking that these aspects of Ch'ing-chao's poetry have not been explored by many scholars.]

In the voluminous Sung shih, the official History of the Sung Dynasty, there are only twenty-four characters referring to the greatest Chinese woman...

(The entire section is 6089 words.)

Yang Minru (essay date April 1981)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Minru, Yang. “Li Qingzhao, a Poetess of the Song Dynasty.” Chinese Literature (April 1981): 94-106.

[In the following essay, Minru explores the complexities of Li Ch'ing-chao's life and interests and the influence these on her poetry.]

The Song Dynasty (960-1279) was a period of cultural growth and economic development. Especially during the first hundred years after its establishment, talented writers and poets were particularly prominent, among whom was a most gifted poetess, Li Qingzhao. Though born in feudal times, when women suffered both oppression and discrimination, and though her biography was not recorded, she nevertheless occupies an outstanding...

(The entire section is 3891 words.)

Peter Dragin and Paul Dresman (essay date autumn-summer 1984-85)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Dragin, Peter, and Paul Dresman. “Forms of Open Form: A Comparison of English Translations of Li Ch'ing-chao.” Tamkang Review: A Quarterly of Comparative Studies between Chinese and Foreign Literatures 15, nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 (autumn-summer 1984-85): 285-306.

[In the following essay, Dragin and Dresman compare different translations of Li Ch'ing-chao's poetry into English and find that none is really more successful than the others.]

Remarking upon American poetry in this century, Kenneth Rexroth defined the major groups as those who were metaphysical poets and those who were anti-literary and based their poetics in presentational immediacy.1 The...

(The entire section is 7345 words.)

William J. Lockwood (essay date autumn-summer 1984-85)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Lockwood, William J. “Kenneth Rexroth's Versions of Li Ch'ing-chao.” Tamkang Review: A Quarterly of Comparative Studies between Chinese and Foreign Literatures 15, nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 (autumn-summer 1984-85): 389-410.

[In the following essay, Lockwood explores the sensual and intellectual kinship between the works of Li Ch'ing-chao and those of poet Kenneth Rexroth, one of the most important translators of her works into English.]

In the introduction to his volume of poems titled The Signature of All Things (1949), Rexroth expresses his belief in personality and his preference for poems that can be sung. At age 44, nine years since the publication of his...

(The entire section is 7125 words.)

Göran Malmqvist (essay date 1991)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Malmqvist, Goran. “A Note on a Lyrical Poem by Li Qingzhao (1084-1151).” Archív orientální 2, no. 59 (1991): 190-93.

[In the following excerpt, Malmqvist offers a metrical analysis of Li Ch'ing-chao's lyrical poem ”Shengsheng man.”]

The phonology of the literary koine of the Chinese language at the time of Li Qingzhao must fall somewhere in between that of Ancient Chinese and Old Mandarin, but was probably closer to the latter stage. Our knowledge of Old Mandarin is based on Zhou Deqing's Zhongyuan yinyun (1324), which work reflects the phonological properties of dramatic airs (qu) of the mid 13th century. The...

(The entire section is 1151 words.)

Shiu-Pang E. Almberg (essay date spring & autumn 1994)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Shiu-Pang E. Almberg (essay date spring & autumn 1994)

SOURCE: Almberg, Shiu-Pang E. “Li Qingzhao: Letter to the Academician Qi Chongli.” Renditions: A Chinese-English Translation Magazine, nos. 41 & 42 (spring & autumn 1994): 79-84.

[In the following excerpt, Almberg discusses and then reproduces a letter from Li Ch'ing-chao to Qi Chongli, a relative of her first husband and a respected senior academician. The critic contends that this letter confirms the theory that the poet married for a second time.]

Despite the very limited number of her extant works (some seventy lyrics out of six volumes together with other poems and a few...

(The entire section is 2481 words.)

John Timothy Wixted (essay date 1994)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Wixted, John Timothy. “The Poetry of Li Ch'ing-chao: A Woman Author and Women's Authorship.” In Voices of the Song Lyric in China, edited by Pauline Yu, pp. 145-68. Berkeley and Los Angeles, Cal.: University of California Press, 1994.

[In the following essay, Wixted examines Li Ch'ing-chao's place in the Chinese literary tradition before exploring questions about the existence of a feminine consciousness in her writing.]

The poetry of Li Ch'ing-chao (b. 1084)1—both her tz'u and shih—prompts fundamental questions when viewed from various twentieth-century Western perspectives, especially feminist ones. Is there a separate women's...

(The entire section is 10581 words.)