The Columbia History of Chinese Literature

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Overview

Comprehensive yet portable, this account of the development of Chinese literature from the very beginning up to the present brings the riches of this august literary tradition into focus for the general reader. Organized chronologically with thematic chapters interspersed, the fifty-five original chapters by leading specialists cover all genres and periods of poetry, prose, fiction, and drama. A special feature of The Columbia History of Chinese Literature is the focus on such subjects as popular culture, the impact of religion upon literature, the role of women, and relationships with non-Sinitic languages and peoples.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This ambitious history explores a wide range of Chinese literature, from the classics to humor to folk tales to oral traditions, and moves from ancient times to the end of the 20th century. The 54 chapters also include discussions of Chinese literature by women and minorities and assess its reception in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. A lengthy chapter explains the language and script, emphasizing the diversity and the changes over time. All the discussions deal with the social, political, and philosophical backgrounds that either inhabit or inhibit the literature. Early texts, for example, are usually grounded in Confucian and Taoist thought, while more recent writings deal with, or at least suggest, political ideologies. This being a history and not an anthology, no literature is included, except for an occasional short quotation. And, of course, the many transliterated titles, authors' names, and dates make for difficult reading, even though everything is translated and Chinese characters are omitted. Mair (Chinese language and literature, Univ. of Pennsylvania) has overseen a host of excellent scholars writing on a vast subject. Highly recommended. Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The China Quarterly - Bernhard Fuehrer

The Columbia History of Chinese Literature is indeed the most comprehensive single-volume introduction to Chinese literature, premodern and modern. It goes without saying that no library can afford not to make this impressive volume available to its readers, and that nobody with a serious interest in Chinese literature can possibly disregard this comprehensive and most inspiring volume.

Journal of the American Oriental Society - Richard B. Mather

A monumental contribution to the field of Chinese literary studies.

The China Quarterly
The Columbia History of Chinese Literature is indeed the most comprehensive single-volume introduction to Chinese literature, premodern and modern. It goes without saying that no library can afford not to make this impressive volume available to its readers, and that nobody with a serious interest in Chinese literature can possibly disregard this comprehensive and most inspiring volume.

— Bernhard Fuehrer

Journal of the American Oriental Society
A monumental contribution to the field of Chinese literary studies.

— Richard B. Mather

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231109840
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/12/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 1342
  • Lexile: 1470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.51 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 2.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Mair is professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder and editor of Sino-Platonic Papers, an academic journal that examines diverse aspects of Chinese language, script, and culture, paying particular attention to historical relationships with other societies in Eurasia. Mair is also a critically acclaimed translator of The Art of War: Sun Zi's Military Methods and the editor of The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Prolegomenon
Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Map of China
Introduction: The Origins and Impact of Literati Culture 1
1 Foundations
1 Language and Script 19
2 Myth 58
3 Philosophy and Literature in Early China 70
4 The Thirteen Classics 86
5 Shih-ching Poetry and Didacticism in Ancient Chinese Literature 97
6 The Supernatural 110
7 Wit and Humor 132
8 Proverbs 149
9 Buddhist Literature 160
10 Taoist Heritage 173
11 Women in Literature 194
II Poetry
12 Sao, Fu, Parallel Prose, and Related Genres 223
13 Poetry from 200 B.C.E. to 600 C.E. 248
14 Poetry of the T'ang Dynasty 274
15 Tz'u 314
16 Sung Dynasty Shih Poetry 337
17 Yuan San-ch'u 370
18 Mongol-Yuan Classical Verse (Shih) 383
19 Poetry of the Fourteenth Century 390
20 Poetry of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries 399
21 Poetry of the Seventeenth Century 410
22 Poetry of the Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Centuries 429
23 Ch'ing Lyric 444
24 Modern Poetry 453
25 Poetry and Painting 466
III Prose
26 The Literary Features of Historical Writing 493
27 Early Biography 511
28 Expository Prose 527
29 Records of Anomalies 542
30 Travel Literature 555
31 Sketches 560
32 Twentieth-Century Prose 566
IV Fiction
33 T'ang Tales 579
34 Vernacular Stories 595
35 Full-Length Vernacular Fiction 620
36 Traditional Vernacular Novels: Some Lesser-Known Works 659
37 The Later Classical Tale 675
38 Fiction from the End of the Empire to the Beginning of the Republic (1897-1916) 697
39 Twentieth-Century Fiction 732
40 China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan During the 1980s and 1990s 758
V Drama
41 Traditional Dramatic Literature 785
42 Twentieth-Century Spoken Drama 848
VI Commentary, Criticism, and Interpretation
43 The Rhetoric of Premodern Prose Style 881
44 Classical Exegesis 909
45 Literary Theory and Criticism 916
46 Traditional Fiction Commentary 940
VII Popular and Peripheral Manifestations
47 Balladry and Popular Song 953
48 Tun-huang Literature 964
49 The Oral-Formulaic Tradition 989
50 Regional Literatures 1015
51 Ethnic Minority Literature 1032
52 The Translator's Turn: The Birth of Modern Chinese Language and Fiction 1055
53 The Reception of Chinese Literature in Korea 1067
54 The Reception of Chinese Literature in Japan 1079
55 The Reception of Chinese Literature in Vietnam 1096
Suggestions for Further Reading 1105
Principal Chinese Dynasties and Periods 1153
Romanization Schemes for Modern Standard Mandarin 1155
Glossary of Terms 1161
Glossary of Names 1179
Glossary of Titles 1213
Index 1241
Contributors 1335
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