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date: 04 March 2024

Chinese Literature. 

Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World
Author(s):
Edward M. GunnEdward M. Gunn

Though “literature” was not a category of writing in China until the twentieth century, the genres that this concept comprises had been practiced for centuries. Poetry and nonfiction prose retained their dominant place in the humanistic Confucian educational curriculum, which prepared males for state civil examinations, which in turn tested for appointments as government officials or state recognition of literati status. These state examinations required the ability to recognize and articulate answers to social problems in the language of classical Confucian texts and in highly prescribed forms of verse and prose. Thus it is not surprising that the greatest legacy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been two compact anthologies of models of writing from previous centuries: ... ...

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