A Guide to Chinese Literature

Volume 74
Wilt L. Idema and Lloyd L. Haft
Translated by Lloyd L. Haft
A new supplement to courses on Chinese or World literature in translation.


Selected for Choice's list of Outstanding Academic Books for 1997.

A comprehensive overview of China's 3,000 years of literary history, from its beginnings to the present day. After an introductory section discussing the concept of literature and other features of traditional Chinese society crucial to understanding its writings, the second part is broken into five major time periods (earliest times to 100 c.e.; 100-1000; 1000-1875; 1875-1915; and 1915 to the present) corresponding to changes in book production. The development of the major literary genres is traced in each of these periods. The reference section in the cloth edition includes an annotated bibliography of more than 120 pages; the paper edition has a shorter bibliography and is intended for classroom use.

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Table of Contents:
  • pt. I. Introduction. The concept of literature ; Language and writing, paper and printing, education, and literacy ; Traditional Chinese society, especially in the period from the Han to the Qing ; The central tradition in traditional society ; The way and the government, truth and literature ; The study and translation of Chinese literature in the West
  • pt. II. From the earliest times to the invention of paper. Chinese political history before A.D. 100 ; Historical prose ; The philosophers ; Poetry
  • pt. III. From the invention of paper to the spread of the book printing. Chinese political history 100-700
  • Fu, prose, and literary criticism ; Poetry: Shi and Yuefu ; Chinese political history, 700-1000 ; Poetry: Shi ; Tang prose: Ancient-style prose and short stories ; Popular literature: Ci and Bianwen
  • pt. IV. From the spread of book printing to the introduction of Western printing methods. Chinese political history, 1000-1450 ; Poetry: Shi, Shihua and Ci ; Prose: Guwen, Biji, Chuanqi, Pinghua ; Qu: Zhugongdiao, Zaju, and Sanqu, and Xiwen ; Chinese political history, 1450-1915 ; Classical-language poetry and prose ; Drama: Zaju, Chuanqi, and regional drama ; The novel (1450-1650) ; The novella (Huaben) ; The novel (1650-1875) ; Performance texts and oral literature
  • pt. V. Transition to modern literature (1875-1915) The transitional period
  • pt. VI. Modern literature (1915-1990) Chinese political history, 1915-1990 ; Modern literature: an introduction ; Modern literature 1917-1942: the short story and the novel ; Modern literature 1917-1942: Poetry, drama, and essay ; Modern literature: 1942-1990.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 394pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1997
  • Available
  • 978-0-89264-123-9

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  • $26.00 U.S.

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