Yuan Mei (Yüan Mei) 1716-1798

Qing-dynasty poet and essayist hailing from the Hangzhou region. Yuan Mei passed the jinshi examinations at a young age and was forthwith appointed to the Hanlin Academy to learn Manchu. Failing miserably at this, he received several successive appointments as a magistrate but resigned in 1748 in order to write and teach. He wrote many poems in what has been described as "unusually clear and elegant language", and he took an interest in a great many things, including food, the fostering of the literary talents of young women , and ghost stories. His views on poetry as expressed in the Suiyuan shihua [Poetry talks from the Sui Garden] stressed the importance of personal feeling and technical perfection.

Works available in English:

  • Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei (Kam Louie and Louise
       Edwards). London & New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1996.
  • I Don't Bow to Buddhas: Selected Poems of Yuan Mei (J.P. Seaton). Port
       Townsend, Wash.: Copper Canyon Press, 1997.