The mode of "Fragrant Plant - Travel" in Some Jiuzhang Poems Inherited from the Lisao

Ya You

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


The mode of “fragrant plants—travel” (香草——行路) first found in the first section of the Lisao 離騷 set a model for emulation in other Chuci poems. In the Jiuzhang 九章 suite, however, only four poems adopt this mode, namely, “Xisong” 惜誦, “Shejiang” 涉江, “Huai Sha” 懷沙, and “Si Meiren” 思美人. In these four poems, we observe “conclusions” and re-creation of the Lisao and thereby cast further doubt on the authorship of the Jiuzhang poems. The first section of the Lisao, from the beginning to line 130 “For how could dismemberment ever hurt my mind” 豈余心之可懲, may be roughly divided into six stanzas. The first five each formulaically feature the mode of “fragrant plants—travel,” with the former image preceding the latter. In the sixth stanza, from line 107 “Repenting therefore, that I had not conned the way more closely” 悔相道之不察兮 to the end of this section, the two images appear in an alternate order. We observe certain logical connections between these two schemes, as well as a relatively fixed prosodic “rule,” which determines the repetitive structure of this first section of the Lisao. Although the similar “fragrant plants—travel” schemes are found in the four Jiuzhang poems in question, they are in a more abridged form in their respective concise representation. This phenomenon reveals a preference for writing “conclusions” of the Lisao.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2021
EventAmerican Oriental Society Western Branch Annual Meeting 2021 - Online, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 202123 Oct 2021


ConferenceAmerican Oriental Society Western Branch Annual Meeting 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Barbara, CA


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