You are here > Home > Quick Navigation


Ancient literature is a precious cultural heritage of China's several thousand years of civilization. The Book of Songs, a collection of 305 folk ballads of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn period, compiled in the sixth century B.C., is China's earliest anthology of poetry.

Qu Yuan of the Warring States Period, China's first great poet, write Li Sao (The Lament), and extended lyric poem. The Book of Songs and Li Sao are regarded as classics in Chinese literary history. Later, different literary styles developed in subsequent dynasties.

There were pre-Qin prose, magnificent Han fu (rhymed prose), and the yuefu folk songs of the end of the Han Dynasty. Records of the Historian, written by Sima Qian of the Han Dynasty, is respected as a model of biographical literature, and The Peacock Flies to the Southeast represents the magnificent yuefu folk songs. These are all well known among the Chinese people.

The Wei and Jin Dynasties (220-420) were a great period for the production of poetry. The poems written by Cao Cao, a statesman and man of letters of that time, and by his sons Cao Pi and Cai Zhi, are fervent and vigorous. They are outstanding forerunners of the progressive literature of later generations. The Tang Dynasty gave birth to a great number of men of letters. The Complete Tang Poems is an anthology of more than 50,000 poems.

Representative poets include Li Bai, Du Fu, and Bai Juyi, who are the pride of the Chinese people. The Song Dynasty is well known for its ci (lyric). Song lyricists may be divided into
two groups. The first, best represented by Liu Yong and Li Qingzhao, is known as the "gentle school"; the second, the "bold and unconstrained school," is best represented by Su Shi and Xin Qiji.

The most notable achievement of Yuan Dynasty literature was the zaju, poetic drama set of music. Snow in Midsummer by celebrated playwright Guan Hanqing and The Western Chamber written by another zaju master, Wang Shipu, are masterpieces of the ancient drama.

The Ming and Qing dynasties saw the development of the novel. The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, Outlaws of the Mars by Shi Nai'an, Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en, and A Dream of Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin are the four masterpieces produced in this form during this period. They have been celebrated for centuries for their rich historical and cultural connotations and unique style.

The new cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s was an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal movement. Progressive writers, represented by Lu Xun, gave birth to modern Chinese literature. The most outstanding representative works of this era are the novels The Diary of a Madman and The True Story of Ah Q by Lu Xun, the poetry anthology The Goddesses by Guo Moruo, the novel Midnight by Mao Dun, the trilogy novels Family, Spring and Autumn by Ba Jin, the novel Camel Xiangzi by Lao She, and the plays Thunderstorm and Sunrise by Cao Yu.

Page 2 of 2    1 2 

The Analects - Chapter 17
Yang Ho wished to see Confucius, but Confucius would not go to see him. On this, he sent a present of a pig to Confucius, who, having chosen a time when Ho was not at home went to pay his respects for the gift. He met him, however, on the way.
The Analects - Chapter 18
The Viscount of Wei withdrew from the court. The Viscount of Chi became a slave to Chau. Pi-kan remonstrated with him and died.
The Analects - Chapter 19
Tsze-chang said, "The scholar, trained for public duty, seeing threatening danger, is prepared to sacrifice his life. When the opportunity of gain is presented to him, he thinks of righteousness. In sacrificing, his thoughts are reverential. In mourning, his thoughts are about the grief which he should feel. Such a man commands our approbation indeed.
The Analects - Chapter 20
Yao said, "Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of succession now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due Mean. If there shall be distress and want within the four seas, the Heavenly revenue will come to a perpetual end."
The Thirty Six Stratagems
The perception of perfect preparation leads to relapsed vigilance. The sight of common occurrences leads to slackened suspicion. Therefore secret machinations are better concealed in the open than in the dark, and extreme public exposure often contains extreme secrecy.

Page 2 of 2    1 2 

Quick Navigation

New Article