Fan Chengda (Fan Ch'eng-t'a) 1126-1193
Regarded as being one of the four great masters of Southern Song shi poetry, Fan He was born in present-day Suzhou. After a youth spent in poverty he gained his jinshi degree in 1154 and for many years worked in the service of the state. His most famous poems are a series of sixty quatrains describing rural life in a much more objective and realistic way than any of his predecessors in the pastoral, or tianyuan, genre had done. He also wrote poems which were more specifically political in tone, as well as many Buddhist poems and some 'patriotic' verse.
Works available in English:
Five Seasons of a Golden Year: A Chinese Pastoral (Gerald Bullett). Cambridge
& New York: Cambridge University Press, 1946; Hong Kong: Chinese University
Press; Seattle: Distributed by the University of Washington Press, 1980.
Four Seasons of Field and Garden: Sixty Impromptu Poems (Lois Baker).
Pueblo: Passeggiata Press, 1997.
Stone Lake: The Poetry of Fan Chengda (J. D. Schmidt). Cambridge & New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Studies and Biographies:
James M. Hargett, On the road in twelfth century China: the travel diaries of
Fan Chengda (1126-1193). Stuttgart: F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1989.