E240 T'ao Ch'ien

Assigned: T'ao Ch'ien. Selected Prose and Poetry (1360-73).

1. General question: T'ao Ch'ien's outlook as a poet stems from Daoism -- find out what you can about this belief system on the Internet and set down the most significant characteristics you discover.

2. In any of the selections, when T'ao Ch'ien describes the good life, what are its main characteristics? To what extent is this "good life" solitary, and to what extent does the poet welcome the company of others?

3. In any of the selections, what does T'ao Ch'ien suggest is most conducive to the good life? What things are most likely to get in the way, and what does it take to remove such obstacles?

4. In any of the selections, how much credit does T'ao Ch'ien give wine-drinking for his performance as a poet and his happiness more generally? What are the benefits of wine and what are its limitations for him?

Edition: Lawall, Sarah, ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd edition. Volumes 1ABC. New York: Norton, 2002. ISBN A = 0-393-97755-2, B = 0-393-97756-0, C = 0-393-97757-9.