Impressions of early 13th century Central Asia as seen through the Poetry of Yelü Chucai 耶律楚材 (Yeh-lü Ch’u-ts’ai) (1190-1244)
by Dr. Sally K Church (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Qiu Jiangning 邱江宁 (Zhejiang Normal University)
The paper we presented in Cambridge contained a large amount of introductory material, not only about Yelü Chucai himself, but also about the rather complicated historical context in which he lived. Due to the nature of this distinguished audience here at Nanjing University, it is not necessary for me to describe the historical context in great detail, though I will mention a few aspects that are relevant to this discussion. In what follows, I shall suggest a new theoretical approach that could be taken to his poetry and travel account. Then I shall set the poems in the context of his life and the particular setting of the Western Campaign, before focusing on the poems themselves.
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