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Home Chinese Literature Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元
Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元
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Liu Zongyuan (柳宗元 Liǔ Zōngyuán 773–819), courtesy name Zihou (子厚), was a Chinese writer who lived in Chang'an during the Tang Dynasty. Liu was born in present-day Yongji, Shanxi, along with Han Yu, he was a founder of the Classical Prose Movement. He was traditionally classed as one of the Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song.

Civil service career
His civil service career was initially successful, but in 805 he fell from favour because of his association with a failed reformist movement. He was exiled first to Yongzhou, Hunan, and then to Liuzhou, Guangxi. However, this setback allowed his literary career to flourish: he produced poems, fables, reflective travelogues and essays sythesizing elements of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.

His best-known travel pieces are the Eight Records of Excursions in Yongzhou (永州八记). Around 180 of his poems are extant. Some of his works celebrate his freedom from office, while others mourn his banishment.

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