- literature mainly taken the form of poems such as odes
- proses also achieved a high level of artistry
- Ode, first started during West Han, had its origins in the Qin. The odes of West Han were vigourous and usually very long. Examples are works by Sima XiangRu such as the Ode of Shanglin.
- The Ode of East Han are usually more realistic and shorter than that of West Han. Examples are works by Ban Gu such as The Ode of Two Capitals.
- Poesies were also popular. Their forms were plain and simple, content very interesting and the language earthly. They are the jewels in Ancient Chinese Literature.
The First Book of History -- Shiji
- BC 98, because Sima Qian was too straight out, he angered the emperor and was imprisoned with heavy sentence. In an attempt to realize his father's dying wish, he spent 7 hard years, and finally in BC 91, he completed a 520 000-word documentary recording 3000 years of history (it was named Shiji). This was China's first historical record.
Jin, Northern, Southern
- The famous Three Kingdoms Chronology called Sanguo Zhi is written during this period.
- centered mainly on poetry
- classical poettry reached its pinnacle during Tang
- about 50 000 poems written by about 2000 poets survived from Tang
- during early Tang, famous poets include Chen Ziang, who was the founder of the improvement of Tang poetry
- during mid-Tang, massive number of fine poets emerged. Among them, Li Bai and Dufu were the most famous.
- Li Bai's Looking at the Waterfall of Mount Lu and Du fu's 3 Farewells were all masterworks
- mid-Tang poems often reflected life. Bai Juyi's 500 sarcastic yet exemplary peoms were fine examples of this period.
Right --> Portrait of Bai Juyi
- the highest achievement of Ming was the novel.
- Among the "4 Great Novels of Ancient China", 3 were written in the Ming.
- One of them was the famous Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Cheng'en's Journey to the West.
There were also other achievements in fields such as essay. Example works include "Former 7 Persons ", "Latter 7 persons ". Gui Youguang.
One of the greatest Chinese encyclopedic works of all time, the Yongle Encyclopedia, was compiled during the Ming. It took 5 years and 3000 scholars to compile it.
Famous works by outstanding novelists and
dramatists that survived today include Strange Tales from Liaozhai, The Scholars, A
Dream of Red House (Honglou Meng) by Cao Xueqin.