An excerpt from an OUPblog article published on 8th December 2017, written by Taiping Chang, author of A Dictionary of Chinese Literature.
"Chinese scholars traditionally have considered the Han fu-rhapsody, Tang shi-poetry, Song ci-song lyrics, and Yuan qu-drama, as the highest literary achievements of their respective dynasties. However, Chinese literature embraces a far wider range of writing than these four literary genres. In addition to these “belles lettres”, Chinese literature has developed into a treasure trove that offers rich information about Chinese society, thought, customs, and social and political movements. From Ancient Pre-Quin writing and the emergence of drama during the Yan dynasty—right through to novels responding to the socio-political issues of the 1940s, a rich literary history has developed over three millennia..."