The History of Chinese Literature

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Chinese Literature

The History of Chinese Literature

1. Shang Dynasty (about 1700-1050 BC)
Development of Chinese Writing
* Historical record and archaeological evidence are present in this era. * Hieroglyphic writing system later evolved into ideographic and partly-phonetic Chinese characters. 2. Zhou Dynasty (1045-255 BC)

Basic Philosophical and Religious Literature
* The great literary works of philosophy and religion that became the basis for Chinese religious and social belief stem from what is called the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476) and the Warring States Period (475-221). * Taoism, Confucian literature, and other prominent religious and philosophical schools all emerged during these two periods or the so called “One Hundred Schools of Thought.” * They say that most of the philosophical and religious works of that time were destroyed. If there were great fictional books created, they have been lost. 3. Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Literary Disaster and Legalism
* A big philosophical and religious school then was called Mohism. * An early form of Buddhism was also established in China at that time. * The emperor wanted to reduce and destroy the “One Hundred Schools of Thought” * So the “Book Burning and Burial of Scholars” was a literary disaster. * The Qin Dynasty standardized the written Classical Language. * The Qin Emperor favored a philosophical school that was called Legalism (法家). 4. Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)

Scientific and Historical Texts
* Confucian texts were rewritten and republished. Confucianism was mixed with the Legalism philosophy of Li Si. * 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. * The Han Dynasty era was one of the two main hotspot eras for scientific and technical advance. * Two or three mathematical texts showing advanced mathematics for the times were written. 5. Tang Dynasty (618-907)

Early Woodblock Printing and Poetry
* This era’s main contribution to Chinese literature was in the poetry of Dufu, Li Bai and many other poets. 6. Song Dynasty (960-1279)
Early Woodblock Printing, Travel Literature, Poetry, Scientific Texts and the Neo-Confucian Classics * Has made remarkable scientific and technical advances. * Invention of movable type which helped to spread knowledge since printed material could be published more quickly and cheaply. * 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. * The Five Classics and Four Books were written in the written Classical Language which include: *

* Five Classics:
* The Book of Changes,
* The Classic of Poetry,
* The Record of Rites
* The Classic of History, and
* The Spring and Autumn Annals
* Four Books:
* The Analects of Confucius
* The Doctrine of the Mean
* The Great Learning
* Analects of Confucius

* .Shen Kuo (1031–1095) is said to have discovered the concepts of true north and magnetic declination towards the North Pole * Su Song (1020–1101) wrote a treatise called the Bencao Tujing with information on medicine, botany and zoology. * Song poet named Lu is thought to have written almost 10,000 poems. Su Tungpo is regarded as a great poet of the Northern Song era. Here is a stanza he wrote: “The moon rounds the red mansion

Stoops to silk-pad doors
Shines upon the sleepless
Bearing no grudge
Why does the moon tend to be full when people are apart?”
7. Yuan Dynasty...
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