Literary Genres


  • Zhugongdiao
     Zhugongdiao is a form of storytelling and singing literature. It was born in the Northern Song Dynasty, prospered in the Jin and Southern Song Dynasties, and fell into decay in the Yuan Dynasty. Because it comprises many short suites (a short suite is...
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  • Chinese Literature: Classical Texts
    Chinese literature extends back thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature fictional novel that arose during the Ming Dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese.The introduction of widespread woodblock ...
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  • Chinese Literature: Historical Texts and Encyclopedias
    The Chinese wrote consistent and accurate records at court after the year 841 BC, with the beginning of the Gonghe regency of the Western Zhou Dynasty. The earliest known narrative history of China was the Zuo Zhuan(左传), which was compiled no later than...
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  • Chinese Literature: Chinese Classical Poetry
     Among the earliest and most influential poetic anthologies was the Chuci (楚辞) (Songs of Chu), made up primarily of poems ascribed to the semi-legendary Qu Yuan (屈原) (ca. 340-278 B.C.) and his follower Song Yu (宋玉) (fourth century B.C.). The songs in...
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  • Chinese Literature: Classical Prose
    The proponents of the Hundred Schools of Thought in the Warring States Period and Spring and Autumn periods made important contributions to Chinese prose style. The writings of Mo Zi (墨子) (Mo Di, 470-390 B.C.), Mencius (孟子) (Meng Zi; 372-289 B.C.), and...
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  • Vernacular Chinese - A Style of the Written Chinese Language
    Vernacular Chinese is a style or register of the written Chinese language essentially modeled after the spoken language and associated with Standard Mandarin. This term is not to be confused with the various present-day vernacular spoken varieties of Chinese....
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  • Chinese Poetry - Literary Genre in China
     Chinese poetry is the most highly regarded literary genre in China. Traditionally, it is divided into shi (诗), ci (词) and qu (曲). There is also a kind of prose-poem called fu (赋). During the modern period, there also has developed free verse in Western...
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  • Modern Poetry
     Modern Chinese poems (新诗 "new poetry") usually do not follow any prescribed pattern. Poetry was revolutionized after the May Fourth Movement when writers try to use vernacular styles closer to what was being spoken (baihua) rather than previously...
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  • Later Classical Poetry
     After the Song Dynasty, both shi and ci continued to be composed until the end of the imperial period, and to a lesser extent to this day. However, for a number of reasons, these works have always been less highly regarded than those of the Tang dynasty...
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  • Classical Poetry
     During the Han Dynasty, the Chu Ci-type of lyrics evolved into fu. During the Six Dynasties, fu remained a major poetic genre, and together with shi formed the twin generic pillars of Chinese poetry until shi began to dominate during the Tang...
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