History of Chinese Literature, China Literature in Ancient Time

 

chinese literature summary

The history of Chinese literature reaches back over years, prior to the development of paper. Chinese writing has great works in the forms of poetry, philosophy, and prose. Complete summary of Stephen Owen's An Anthology of Chinese Literature. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of An Anthology of Chinese Literature. The history of Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature vernacular fiction novels that arose during the Ming dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese. The introduction of widespread woodblock printing during the Tang dynasty (–) and the invention of movable type printing by Bi Sheng (–) during Simplified Chinese: 中国文学.


Introduction to Chinese Literature | Asia for Educators | Columbia University


Writing in China dates back to the hieroglyphs that were used in the Shang Dynasty of — BC. Chinese literature is a vast subject that spans thousands of years. One of the interesting things about Chinese literature is that much of the serious literature was composed using a formal written language that is called Classical Chinese, chinese literature summary.

The best literature of the Yuan Dynasty era and the four novels that are considered the greatest classics are important exceptions. However, chinese literature summary, even during the Qing Dynasty of two hundred years ago, most writers composed in a literary stream that extended back about 2, years. They studied very ancient writings in more or less the original written language. This large breadth of time with so many writers living in the various eras and countries makes Chinese literature complex, chinese literature summary.

Chinese literary works include fictionphilosophical and religious works, poetry, and scientific writings. The dynastic eras frame the history of Chinese literature and are examined one by one.

The grammar of the written Classical Language is different than the spoken languages of the past two thousand years. This written language was used chinese literature summary people of many different ethnic chinese literature summary and countries during the Zhou, Qin and Han eras spanning BC to AD.

After the Han Dynasty, the written language evolved as the spoken languages changed, but most writers still based their compositions on Classical Chinese.

The empires and groups of kingdoms of all these eras were composed of people speaking many different native languages. The first dynasty for which there is historical record and archaeological evidence is the Shang Dynasty. It was a small empire in northern central China. No documents from that country survive, but there are archaeological finds of hieroglyphic writing on bronze wares and oracle bones.

The hieroglyphic writing system later evolved into ideographic and partly-phonetic Chinese characters. Their dynasty lasted for about years, but for most of the time, their original territory was broken up into dozens of competing kingdoms, and these finally coalesced into several big and warring kingdoms by the end of the Zhou era. The great literary works of philosophy and religion that became the basis chinese literature summary Chinese religious and social belief stem from what is called the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period Taoism, Confucian literatureand other prominent religious and philosophical schools all emerged during these two periods.

In Chinese history, the dominant rulers generally squelch or discourage philosophical expression that contradict their own, so when there were several small powers, different schools of thought could survive in the land at the same time. The major literary achievements of the Confucian Classics, early Taoist writings, and other important prose works originated in the late Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty era.

These literary works deeply shaped Chinese philosophy and religion. There were hundreds of philosophers and writers who wrote conflicting documents, chinese literature summary, and there was discussion and communication.

Probably most of the philosophical and religious works of that time were destroyed. If there were great fictional books created, they chinese literature summary been lost.

So the main contributions of this period to Chinese literature were the prose works of the Confucian Classics and the Taoist writings, and preserved poems and songs. At the end of the Zhou Dynasty chinese literature summary that is called the Warring Chinese literature summary Period, of the surviving few big states in the land, the Qin Dynasty became the most powerful.

The Qin Dynasty had big armies and conquered the others. Once the Qin emperor had control, he wanted to keep it, and they squelched any opposition to his authority. In the conquered territories, there were teachers of many different doctrines and religions. A big philosophical and religious school then was called Mohism.

They were particularly attacked by the Qin Dynasty, and little is known about it. An early form of Buddhism was also established in China at that time, but their temples and literature were destroyed and even less is known about them. The emperor wanted to reduce the One Hundred Schools of Thought to one that he approved. He ordered the destruction of most books all over the empire.

He even killed many Confucian philosophers and teachers, chinese literature summary. He allowed books chinese literature summary scientific subjects like medicine or agriculture to survive. On the other hand, the Qin Dynasty standardized the written Classical Language.

It is said that a minister of the Qin emperor named Li Si introduced a writing system that later developed into modern Chinese writing. Standardization was meant to help control the society. The standardized writing system also helped people all over the country chinese literature summary communicate more clearly. This philosophy of course justified the strong control of the emperor and maintained that everyone should obey him.

It is thought that Li Si taught that human nature was naturally selfish and that a strong emperor chinese literature summary with strict laws was needed for social order. A former peasant leader overthrew the Qin Empire. The Han Dynasty era lasted for years, chinese literature summary. At the beginning of the era, Confucianism was revived, chinese literature summary. Confucian texts were rewritten and republished.

Confucianism was mixed with the Legalism philosophy of Li Si. The resulting ideology was the official ideology of the Han Dynasty and influenced political thinking afterwards. Sima Qian wrote Historical Records that is a major history concerning the overall history of China from before the Shang Dynasty until the Han Dynasty.

Another important historical text concerned the Han Dynasty itself. The Han Dynasty era was one of the two main hotspot eras for scientific and technical advance. During the Eastern Han Dynasty towards the end of the Han era, the influence of the philosophy of the Confucian Classics that hindered scientific progress was waning.

So people were more free to pursue invention. Cai Lun 50— of the imperial court is said to be the first person in the world to create writing paperand this was important for written communication at the end of the empire.

Finery forges were used in steel making. Two or three mathematical texts showing advanced mathematics for the times were written. For several hundred years, chinese literature summary, dynasties and kingdoms rose and fell in various places, and the next big and long-lasting dynastic empire is called the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty had a big empire that benefited from trade with the west along the Silk Roadbattled with the Tibetan Empire, and experienced the growing influence of organized Buddhist religions.

Li Bai — was one of the greatest romantic poets of ancient China. He chinese literature summary at least a thousand poems on a variety of subjects from political matters to natural scenery. Du Fu AD also wrote more than a thousand poems. He is thought of as one of the greatest realist poets of China. His poems reflect the hard realities of war, dying people living next to rich rulers, and primitive rural life. He was an official in the Tang capital of Chang An, and he was captured when the capital was attacked, chinese literature summary.

He took refuge in Chengdu that is a city in Sichuan Province. It is thought that he lived in a simple hut where he wrote many of his best realist poems. Perhaps more than 1, of his poems survive, and his poetry is still read and appreciated by modern Chinese people. The next dynasty is called the Song Dynasty. It was weaker than the Tang Dynasty, but the imperial government officials made remarkable scientific and technical advances.

Military technology greatly advanced. They traded little with the west due to the presence of warring Muslim states on the old trade routes. Their northern territory was invaded, chinese literature summary, and they were forced to move their capital to southern China. So the era is divided into two eras called the Northern Song and Southern Song eras.

This helped to spread knowledge since printed material could be published more quickly and cheaply, chinese literature summary. Travel literature in which authors wrote about their trips and about various destinations became popular perhaps because the texts could be cheaply bought.

The Confucian Classics were codified and used as test material for the entrance examination into the elite bureaucracy, advanced scientific texts and atlases were published, and important poems were written. These Confucian Classics were the Five Classics that were thought to have been penned by Confucius and the Four Books that were thought to contain Confucius-related material but were compiled during chinese literature summary Southern Song era, chinese literature summary.

In this way, Confucianism, as codified during the Song era, became the dominant political philosophy of the several empires until modern times. Since the bureaucrats all studied the same works on social behavior and philosophy, this promoted unity chinese literature summary the normalization of behavior throughout each empire and during dynastic changes, chinese literature summary.

The scholar-bureaucrats had a common base of understanding, and chinese literature summary passed on these ideas to the people under them. High education in this system was thought to produce nobility.

The Four Books include : The Analects of Confucius that is a book of pithy sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples; Mencius that is a collection of political dialogues attributed to Mencius; The Doctrine of the Mean ; and The Great Learning that is a book about education, chinese literature summary, self-cultivation and the Dao.

For foreigners who want a taste of this Confucian philosophy, reading the Analects of Confucius is a good introduction since the statements are usually simple and like common sense. Another period of scientific progress and technical invention was the Song era.

Song technicians seemed to have made a lot of advancements in mechanical engineering. They made advanced contraptions out of gears, pulleys and wheels. These were used to make big clocks, a mechanical odometer on animal drawn carts that marked land distance by making noise after traveling a certain distance, and other advanced instruments.

The Song technicians also invented many uses gunpowder including rockets, explosives and big guns. The imperial court officials did remarkable scientific research in many areas of mechanics and science. Shen Kuo — and Su Song — both wrote scientific treatises about their research and about different fields.

Shen is said to have discovered the concepts of true north and magnetic declination towards the North Pole. He also described the magnetic chinese literature summary compass. If Chinese sailors knew about this work, they could have sailed long distances more accurately.

This knowledge would predate European discovery. He did advanced astronomical research for his time. Su Song wrote a treatise called the Bencao Tujing with information on medicine, botany and zoology.

He also was the author of a large celestial atlas of five different star maps, and he also chinese literature summary land atlases, chinese literature summary.

 

Chinese literature - Qin and Han dynasties: bce– ce | moomentis.gq

 

chinese literature summary

 

Literature After With the death of Mao Zedong in came the official end of the Cultural Revolution period, and with it increased freedom for writers. During the subsequent decade, Chinese fiction tended to fall into the following five (necessarily overlapping) categories: 1. . Chinese literature - Chinese literature - Qin and Han dynasties: bce– ce: Following the unification of the empire by the Qin dynasty (– bce) and the continuation of the unified empire under the Han, literary activities took new directions. At the Imperial and feudal courts, the fu genre, a combination of rhyme and prose, began to flourish. The history of Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature vernacular fiction novels that arose during the Ming dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese. The introduction of widespread woodblock printing during the Tang dynasty (–) and the invention of movable type printing by Bi Sheng (–) during Simplified Chinese: 中国文学.