Han Yu was a master of both prose and poetry, and in both forms he |
used vital, direct language and avoided cliches and overworked
metaphors. His reputation rests largely on his prose but his poetry is
also worth the effort to read.
Born in Henan, his father died when he was just two. He was raised
by the family of Han Hui an official of note. In 793 Han Yu passed the
jinshi exam and served in worked for two military govenors in the
prefectures. Between 802 and 819 he was mostly in Luoyang and
Changan serving in the Imperial University.
In 819 he wrote his famous memorial admonishing the emperor for allowing the Buddha's finger bone to be paraded through the streets of Changan. (See Famensi).For this impertinance he was exiled to Chaozhou in Guangdong, where he wrote another famous prose piece addressed to the alligators of Chaozhou, ordering them to leave or he would exterminate them.