Chinese Literature

Category: Education

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Ed, you can download Adele ppt now is also on You Tube...regards from Ivan Devernay (English teacher)

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Can I use this in my class?

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good material

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I would like a copy of this, if possible, to show to my class here in Beijing China, for my literature majors email

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Presentation Transcript

Chinese Literature : 

Chinese Literature

Introduction : 

Two distinct traditions exist in Chinese literature: the literary and the vernacular, or colloquial. The latter can be traced back more than a thousand years before the Christian era and has existed almost continuously until modern times. Introduction

Slide 3: 

Folk, or vernacular, literature was long considered beneath the notice of members of the scholar-official class, who were the arbiters of literary taste. Their own polished and highly stylized writings set the standards for the literary tradition that began about 2000 years ago. Not until the 20th century did colloquial literature gain the support and esteem of the intellectual class.

Slide 4: 

Chinese literature may be divided into three major historical periods that roughly correspond to those of Western literary history: the classical period, from the 6th century BC through the 2nd century AD; the medieval period, from the 3rd century to the late 12th century; and the modern period, from the 13th century to the present.


The oldest examples of Chinese writing are inscriptions on bones and tortoise-shells, dating probably from the 14th century BC. The inscriptions represent divinations performed for the kings of the Shang dynasty (1766?-1027?BC), the earliest confirmed dynasty. Although not literature in the strictest sense, they represent the earliest specimens of Chinese script, which became the vehicle for all subsequent Chinese literature. CLASSICAL PERIOD

Oracle Bones is an ancient script carved on tortoise shells or animal bones. Having emerged during the Shang Dynasty considered the oldest script in China. : 

Oracle Bones is an ancient script carved on tortoise shells or animal bones. Having emerged during the Shang Dynasty considered the oldest script in China.

Slide 8: 

The classical period in Chinese literature corresponds to the same period in Greek and Roman literature. The formative stages took place during the 6th to the 4th century BC, at the time of the Zhou (Chou) dynasty (1027?-256 BC). This period encompassed the work of Confucius (Kongfuzi, or K'ung Fu-tzu), Mencius (Mengzi, or Meng-tzu), Laozi (Lao-tzu), Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu ), and many other great Chinese philosophers.

Slide 9: 

It culminated in the compilation of the Five Classics, or Confucian Classics, and other philosophical treatises. In the following centuries of the classical period, the Confucian canon was fixed, and Confucianism became the orthodox teaching, establishing a classical tradition that was to last until the present century.

Slide 10: 

CONFUCIUS September 28, 551BC – 479 BC was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher.

Poetry : 

The most important poetic work produced during the classical period was the Shi Jing (Shih Ching, Book of Poetry), an anthology of ancient poems written in four-word verses and composed mostly between the 10th and the 7th centuries BC. The Shi Jing is classified as the third of the Five Classics; legend has it that Confucius himself selected and edited the 305 poems that constitute the work. Instead of glorifying gods and heroes, as was the custom of other cultures, many of these poems sing of the daily life of the peasants, their sorrows and joys, their occupations and festivities. Poetry

Slide 12: 

These poems mark the beginning of the vernacular tradition in Chinese poetry and are characterized by simplicity of language and emotion. They make up about one-half of the book. The other half of the Shi Jing is made up of dynastic songs and court poems. These songs and poems give a colorful picture of the life and manners of the Chinese feudal nobility, just as the folk poems depict the simple and yet bountiful life of the peasantry. The court poems were originally sung to music and accompanied by dance; Chinese poetry and music were closely linked from earliest times.

Shi Jing : 

The Book of Songs (simplified Chinese: 诗经; traditional Chinese: 詩經) translated variously as the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Odes, and often known simply as its original name The Odes, is the earliest existing collection of Chinese poems and songs. It comprises 305 poems and songs, some possibly from as early as 1000 BC. It forms part of the Five Classics. Shi Jing

The first song of the Odes, handwritten by Emperor Qianlong, along with a painting. : 

The first song of the Odes, handwritten by Emperor Qianlong, along with a painting.

Prose : 

The seminal works of Chinese prose are those that, with the Shi Jing, constitute the Five Classics. These are the Yi Jing (I Ching, Book of Changes), a divination text; the Shu Jing (Shu Ching, Book of History), a collection of ancient state documents; the Li Ji (Li Chi, Book of Rites), a collection of ritual and governmental codes; and the Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Annals), a history of the state of Lu from 722 to 481BC. From the 6th to the 3rd century BC, the first great works of Chinese philosophy appeared. Prose

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