Zeng Guofan 1811-1872

Qing-dynasty writer and statesman. Although best-known for his military and political accomplishments, Zeng Guofan was an innovative figure in 19th century literature. Born and raised in modern Hunan, he passed the jinshi examinations in 1838 and was appointed to the Hanlin Academy. Thereafter, he occupied a series of important positions, and between 1853 and 1864 fought against the Taiping rebels. A devotee to scholarship, he studied literature with a former disciple of Yao Nai and modelled his poetry after the great Song writers. He edited two anthologies: one of poetry entitled Shiba jia shichao [Anthology of eighteen poet's poetry] and another of prose. The clarity and simplicity of Zeng Guofan's writing is said to have influenced writers of the May Fourth Era.