One of the most important and popular genres in the Chinese literary tradition is the
jueju or quatrain. The scale of the form would seem to limit its depth and significance. But in China, the poets of the great age of poetry - the Tang (618-907) - all excelled at it. To understand the extraordinary richness and depth this form was capable of, we must examine its early history. This study traces the development of the
jueju from its earliest beginnings, which may go as far back as the
Book of Songs (eleventh- to seventh-centuries B.C.), through the early Tang dynasty. It aims, above all, to be a detailed, historical account in which any and every element that had a role in the evolution of the
jueju is examined.