Literature Essays | Free Essays on Literature
I am therefore writing this essay on literature to tell of the glorious accomplishments of past men of letters, and to comment on the causes of failure and success in writing. Perhaps some day the secret of this most intricate art may be entirely mastered. In making an axe handle by cutting wood with an axe, the model is indeed near at hand. But theadaptability of the hand to the ever-changing circumstances and impulses in the process of literary creation is such as words can hardly explain. What follows is only what can be said in words.
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Lu chi (261-303CE) was born into a military family living in a large estate at Hua T’ing in the delta area of the Yangtze River. His family had served the Emperor Wu well and this steered Lu Chi into a career in the military, for which he may not have been entirely suited. With the downfall of the Wu dynasty and the rise in power of the Northern Court at Loyang, Lu Chi gavehis allegiance to the latter, and was subsequently appointed literary secretary to the court. He later returned to Hua T’ing, where he wrote his essay on literature, perhaps in the year 300. Lu Chi was called back into military service to protect Loyang but was badly defeated. His rivals conspired to make Lu Chi appear responsible for the disaster and he was executed.
In his "Essay on Literature [Wen fu]", Lu Chi (or Lu Ji, or Lu Ki) created a an essay in rhyming prose about poetry. It deals with the personal imagination and its activity in the process of composition, treating literature as a calling, as a craft, and as a means to truth. In it, Lu Chi provides an unusual insight into how a professional writer goes about thecreative task and gives an account of the intricacies of composition.