In the Voice of Qu Yuan Lu Yun’s Perception and Practice of Writing the “Jiumin” (Nine Sufferings)

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Su Fu



Since the time of the Eastern Han (25–220), the composition of “Nines,” suites of nine poems written in the Chuci style, has been perceived as a practice to transmit the paradigmatic poet Qu Yuan’s texts and intention. The actual practice of composition, however, invites the negotiation, if not tension, between two voices: the actual author’s and that of Qu Yuan’s texts. This paper examines Lu Yun’s 陸雲 (262–303) “Jiumin” 九愍 (Nine sufferings), a rewriting of Qu Yuan’s “Jiuzhang” 九章 (Nine declarations), in light of Lu Yun’s private letters clarifying his prin- ciples of rewriting. I argue that, despite Lu Yun’s claimed fidelity to Qu Yuan, the suite is largely a private projection of Lu’s own literary criticism and family experience, a projection giving rise to an anachronistic persona of Qu Yuan in the poems. Through a close reading of the “Jiumin” and Lu’s literary criticism, the paper sheds light on the authorial role in rewriting canonical texts and its cultural significance.

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