元稹 Yuan Zhen 779 - 831
Yuan Zhen (Chinese: 元稹; pinyin: Yuán Zhěn; Wade–Giles: Yüan Chen) (779 – September 2, 831), courtesy name Weizhi (微之), was a politician of the middle Tang Dynasty, but is more known as an important Chinese writer and poet. In prose literature, Yuan Zhen is particularly known for his work Yingying's Biography (鶯鶯傳), which has often been adapted for other treatments, including operatic and musical ones. In poetry, he is remembered for the inclusion of some of his poems by popular anthologies, his verses on exotic topics (such as the former Liangzhou), and for being part of the group of "New Yuefu" poets, which often used poetry as a form of expression and protest, but one potentially subtle enough to avoid the likely repercussions of more direct criticism. The poetic circle in which Yuan Zhen was involved included Bai Juyi, among others. Politically Yuan Zhen was briefly chancellor, during the reign of Emperor Muzong.
A native of Luoyang, Yuan Zhen was a descendant of Northern Wei's imperial family. He lost his father at the age of seven and moved to Fengxiang (鳳翔), near today's Baoji, Shanxi with his mother Lady Zheng (鄭氏). Yuan began his writings at the age of fifteen. He was a member of Bai Juyi's literary circle and a key figure in the ancient literature revival. He was a friend of Bai Juyi and also of Xue Tao, a courtesan and famous poet who might have been his lover. Bai Juyi and Yuan Zhen made a "Green Mountain pact" to retire together as Taoist recluses once they had accumulated enough funds, but Yuan's untimely death kept them from achieving that dream. In 813, Yuan wrote a grave inscription for Du Fu, which contains some of the earliest known praise for his predecessor's works.