Evolution of Chinese literature | Daily News

Evolution of Chinese literature

In this fast-paced world, China has occupied a vital role in the world’s economy. However, we should not lose the sight of the fact that Chinese literature dates back to thousands of years and that writing in Chinese dates back to the hieroglyphs that were used in the formal written language which is known as classical Chinese.

Shang Dynasty (1700-1050 BC)

Shang dynasty is regarded as the first dynasty of China according to the historical records and evidence. Archaeological finds of hieroglyph writing on bronze revealed that hieroglyphic writing system evolved into ideographic and partly phonetic Chinese characters.

Zhou dynasty (1045-255 BC)

Zhou dynasty conquered the Shang Dynasty and lasted for 800 years according to the available evidence. In this era, the great literary works of philosophy, religions, Taoism, Confucian literature and other prominent religious and schools emerged.

This simultaneous emergence of religions and philosophies is called The one hundred schools of thought by the Chinese. In this dynasty there lived hundreds of philosophers and writers who wrote conflicting documents. According to the critics, the main contribution of the period to Chinese literature was the prose works of the Confucian classics and the Taoist writers.

Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC)

After the Zhou Dynasty, the Qin Dynasty became prominent and powerful due to their military powers. In this era, many teachers belong to different doctrines and religions.

In terms of Chinese literature, there appeared a lot of changes. The Qin dynasty standardized the written classical language. One of the ministers known as Li Si introduced a writing system that developed into modern Chinese writing.

Han Dynasty (206 BC - 2020 AD)

Han dynasty lasted for 400 years. It was Han dynasty in which the Confucianism was revived. According to the information, the main contributions of this era were historical texts and scientific works.

In addition, Sima Qian wrote “Historical records “about the overall history of China from the Shang dynasty to the Han dynasty.

Tang Dynasty (618-907)

Tang dynasty is known as the golden era of Chinese literature. The greatest poets such as LI BAI, DUFU and other poets appeared in this era. A dozen articles have been penned about Li Bai’s poems. He is one of the best romantic poets in China.

Dufu has written more than a thousand poems and was known as a realist poet. It is partly because the frozen tears of the war and the wailing of the wounded were reflected in his poems. At present more than 1400 of his poems are preserved.

Song dynasty (960-1279)

The greatest achievements of the Song Dynasty were the invention of the movable typewriter, the magnetic compass and the gun powders. The movable typewriter helped the Chinese writers disseminate their ideas and opinions amongst the general public. In addition, the Chinese people had to learn the Confucianism to get through their exams, as a result, many poets appeared in this era. For instance, Su Tung Po regarded as the best poet of the Northern song era.

Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)

It is evident that Yuan drama had spanned a broad emotional linguistic and stylistic range. They were nourished with dialogues, mime, jokes and acrobatic feats. All the dramas created in this era can be divided into two. San Qu and Yuan Za Ju. The major work in the theatre and fictional literature during this Yuan period would set the standards for subsequent eras. In this era the birth of a new opera style took place. It was called Zaju opera.

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

The Ming dynasty began in 1368. The Ming was interested in explorations. It was interesting that a book which is one of the four great classics called “Journey to the West “about a monk going to India was written during this time of isolation. This novel was thought to have been published anonymously by Wu Chengen in the 16th century.

Qin Dynasty

In this era, the Manchu invaded the Ming Empire and established the last dynasty called the Qing dynasty. The neo-Confucius governing system of the song and Ming eras was retained by the Manchus who were not Chinese. In the middle of this era “The Dream of the red chamber “(Hong- loumeng) was written. This novel was written in the Chinese vernacular language. In addition, missionary schools were built in China so that all the Chinese students might receive a missionary education.

Modern Era

Sun-Yat-Sen led a revolution that marked the end of the Chinese dynasties. His revolution had an impact on Chinese literature because Chinese literature was highly westernized. Until 1923 there was a new cultural movement. Even the writers wanted to lead the way in transforming China into a modern industrialized country and replacing Confucius life-style with a westernized one. However, after the communist victory, only the literature approved by the government was allowed to be published in China.