The Columbia History of Chinese Literature by Victor Mair

By Victor Mair

The Columbia historical past of chinese language Literature is a accomplished but moveable advisor to China's mammoth literary traditions. Stretching from earliest occasions to the current, the textual content beneficial properties unique contributions through top experts operating in all genres and classes. Chapters disguise poetry, prose, fiction, and drama, and look at such contextual topics as pop culture, the effect of faith, the function of ladies, and China's courting with non-Sinitic languages and peoples. starting with a tremendous part at the linguistic and highbrow foundations of chinese language literature, the anthology lines the improvement of types and routine through the years, besides serious tendencies, and will pay specific realization to the premodern canon.

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South Coblin and Jerry Norman) have come to the realization that there is a watershed or horizon at the Han period, beyond which opinions differ widely. In other words, whereas there is rough agreement concerning the main features in the reconstruction of post-Han phonology, the recovery of pre-Han phonology presents seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This appears to be true not only of Sinitic as a whole but also of its constituent branches. It is certain that before and during the Han period, Sinitic had already borrowed many Indo-European words (particularly from the Iranian group, but also from Tocharian, Indic, and other groups), among them (in MSM pronunciation) ku-lu (wheel), shan-hu (coral), mai (wheat), wu (mage), shih-tzu (lion), p’i-p’a (balloon lute), and mi (honey).

It is easy to identify inscriptions, poems, essays, stories, novels, and plays that embody each of these ideological approaches. Two of the most fecund sources of Chinese literature are Buddhism and Taoism. Merely to speak of “Buddhism” and “Taoism” as though they were two discrete entities is, of 10 i n t r o d u c t i o n course, simplistic, for there were many different types of Buddhism and Taoism, not to mention numerous Buddho-Taoist blends. Certain sects, such as Zen (Ch’an; Sanskrit, dhya¯na [meditation]) and Pure Land, were particularly fertile fields for authors and critics to cultivate.

The antecedents of the ju lay within the shih (scholar) class. To be sure, they were a particular type of shih, as indicated by their fuller designation, ju-shih (Confucian scholars). And who were the shih? At the beginning of the Western Chou dynasty (c. ), the shih were samurai-like warriors, the lowest aristocratic class of early feudal society. ) and Warring States periods, they slowly evolved into the scholar class of late feudal society. It is both ironic and intriguing that the ju, who became the dominant group of shih, were distinguished for their gentleness, weakness, and meekness.

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