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Ouyang Xiu's Prose

The prose of Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072) has three characteristics: (1)Varied styles and inclusion of many expressive methods includingargument, narration and lyric; (2) the formation of a new style based onthe best qualities of classical writing and Pian wen; (3) Harmonious rhymes.

Among Ouyang Xiu's political prose, "A Letter to imperial RemonstrantGao," "On Cliques," and "Preface to the Biographies of Actors of theFive Dynasties" are the most famous, written in flowing and fluent languageand with deep realistic significance.

His works containing both narrative and lyrical qualities best illustratehis achievements in prose creation. The most famous work among all hisprose, "The Arbour of the Drunken Graybeard," described the dailyscenery of the four seasons in the mountains of Chuzhou and a scene ofdelighted travelers. This prose expressed the writer's mixed feelings ofboth cheer and listlessness ."The Arbour of the Drunken Graybeard,""Chirping Cicada" and "The Sound of Autumn" carry on the traditions ofpian wen, through concentrating on rhythm and literary grace.

Concise narration, fluid argumentation, diversified but well-organizedcomposition, and light and lively language, together constitute the generalstyle of Ouyang Xiu's prose. 

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