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During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, palace style poetry, an ornate and gentle poetic style, was in vogue. Religious Daoist and Buddhist writings also flourished. Lasting from the 7th century to the late 13th century, this period was known for rhymed shi -poetry.

Regulated verse composed mostly in five—or seven—syllable lines reached maturity in the Tang dynasty and continued to flourish in the Song. The ci -song lyric, a verse form with distinctive prosodic characteristics first appeared in the Tang dynasty, and reached maturity during the Song dynasty.


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During this period some scholars rejected the ornate style associated with the court and advocated a literary reform based on ancient classical principles. The resulting ancient-style prose movement did not involve slavish imitation of ancient style, but rather an innovation that was informed by ancient ideals of clarity, originality, and practicality.

General characteristics

These dynasties, ruling from the 14th century to the late 19th century, are known for the emergence of drama and vernacular fiction. During the Ming and Qing periods, classical and vernacular novels became the dominant literary forms. Chuanqi Southern play or drama is another popular dramatic form of this era. In the Ming dynasty, literary groups battled against antiquarianism and plagiarism.

The movement opened the door to Western literature and Western concepts of science and democracy. Writing in everyday spoken language instead of the traditional classical language was encouraged. Xinshi new poetry no longer followed prescribed patterns, allowing the poet room for expression of personal sentiments. During this period a significant amount of Western works was translated into Chinese.

Chinese writers no longer concealed their sentiments, and even wrote about the struggle between traditional ethics and natural human desires. After the Cultural Revolution , more readers turned to martial arts novels searching for heroes with lofty principles and ambitions. Since then, martial arts fiction has become the most widely read literary form of modern Chinese literature.

When the internet age arrived in the late s, writings designated for publication or distribution via the internet or in an interactive online context came into fashion.

Internet literature, including blogs and literature in the form of email, has become popular among younger readers. Public domain via Pixabay. She was the founder and publisher of Asia Pacific Business Journal, and has also served as an academic advisor to many universities and institutions. She is the author of A Dictionary of Chinese Literature. Her current research projects focus on Chinese literature, business culture, and traditional Chinese arts.

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A Brief History of Chinese Fiction - Wikipedia

At the same time, a growing interest could be detected in going beyond the traditional, elitist idea of literature as belles lettres, and a desire to explore instead non-elitist literary traditions tied to Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

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The Columbia History of Chinese Literature

China Review International. The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature ed. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Reviewed by:. Chinese literary history is actually only about a hundred years old. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE. Additional Information.

Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.