When the second T’ang emperor, T’ai Tsung, ascended the throne in 627, he had laid the groundwork of T’ang literature for, even when he was still Prince of Ch’in, he had established a Hall of Letters to which he had invited eighteen learned scholars as his guests. This good work was followed not only during his own reign but also by his extremely unconventional daughter-in-law Empress Wu herself, and also her son Chung Tsung (684-709). Thus, early in the eighth century the cultivation of literature had become routine in the imperial court. An early entry such as we find in the Ta T’ang Hsin Yü or New Anecdotes of the Great T’ang was typical:

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