chinese Literature, Ancient and Classical

chinese Literature, Ancient and Classical

William H. Nienhauser

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 0253213657

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


André Lévy provides a "picture of Chinese literature of the past" that brilliantly illustrates the four great literary genres of China: the classics, prose, poetry, and the literature of entertainment. His discussion of approximately 120 vivid translations combines personal insights with innovative historical accounts in a genre-based approach that moves beyond the typical chronology of dynasties. Renowned scholar William H. Nienhauser, Jr., translated Lévy’s work from the French and returned to the original Chinese for the texts. This informative, engaging, and eminently readable introduction to the three millennia of traditional Chinese literature is highly recommended for students and general readers.

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China's Oldest Narrative History. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Chapter 2. Prose "If poetry is intended to express the sentiments and the will while communicating the emotions, the role of prose is to communicate ideas, nothing more." Such a literary doctrine could be extracted from the texts transmitted by or commented on by Confucius. This utilitarian conception of literature in the service of morality would be called into question in the third century A.D. when the imperial

exclusively to prose appeared; the pieces they contained were called sanwen N54_, "free" or "dispersed prose," in contrast to the prosodic regulations of pianwen "parallel" or "harnessed prose." The Songwen jian *la& (Mirror of Song Prose), for example, by Lii Zuqian Pa* (1137 1181), is a collection of the best pieces produced by Song-dynasty authors (960-1279) during the first two centuries of the Song reign. For the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the most important collection is the anthology

spell; for this reason I have contained my passion. A year later Yingying becomes the wife of another, and Zhang also marries. He nevertheless attempts to see her again, but she refuses to receive him and manages to secretly send him this poem: As I have lost weight, the radiance of my beauty has diminished, I tossed and turned thousands of times, too weary to leave my bed. It's not because of those in the household that I am ashamed to rise, For you I pine away, still too ashamed to see you. A

Taoist thought, if not the other way around, as Zhuang Zi attests after the death of his friend Hui Shi: Zhuang Zi was accompanying a funeral procession. When he passed by the grave of Master Hui he turned around to say to those who were following him: "A fellow from Ying had spattered the tip of his nose with a bit of plaster, like the wing of a fly. He had it removed by [his crony] the carpenter Shi, who took his ax and twirled it around. He cut it off, then heard a wind: the plaster was

this colorful novel, the most popular Chinese work in other East Asian cultures. The character who exemplifies cunning is Zhuge Liang the wise counselor of Liu Bei Zhuge's disappearance foretells the ruin of his master. A proverb puts the reader on guard: "In youth, do not read any of Water Margin; in old age, stay away from The Three Kingdoms." The action of Water Margin is set in the thirteenth century: not one of the great novels takes place in a contemporary setting. Nevertheless, no one

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