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Chinese letterkunde - geskiedenis

Chinese letterkunde - geskiedenis

Gedurende die Ming -tydperk het 'n nuwe vorm van Chinese literatuur ontwikkel. Dit het ontwikkel tot die moderne Chinese roman. Die verhale was lewendig, en het dikwels die verhale van die armes en verdruktes van die samelewing vertel. In die meeste gevalle het die roman morele verhaal met die goeie beloning en die slegte gestraf. Twee van die bekendste romans uit die tydperk was die Golden Lotus en The Dream of the Red Chamber.

Chinese letterkunde - geskiedenis

China beskik oor een van die belangrikste literêre tradisies ter wêreld. Die tekste daarvan word al meer as 3000 jaar bewaar. Eerbied vir die verlede het die behoud van hierdie kulturele bronne beïnvloed, en het moontlik die uitvinding van houtblokkies in die 9de eeu en roerende druk in die 12de eeu beïnvloed. Die gebruik van biblioteke het ook 'n belangrike rol gespeel in die oordrag van literêre tradisie. Die belangrikste is dat China kan spog met 'n ononderbroke kulturele tradisie wat gebaseer is op die Chinese skrif as 'n taal en 'n geskrewe medium en mdash onafhanklik van gesproke dialektiese verskil. Namate letterkundige taal toenemend van spreektaal verwyder word, word dit minder belangrik en letterkunde neem 'n natuurlike wending na nabootsing. Na die formatiewe klassieke tydperk wat met Confucius begin het, word die literêre geskiedenis van China inderdaad 'n navolging-met-variasies van verskillende modelle. Letterkunde word dus ook meer elitisties, want begrip of waardering van 'n teks kan vertroud wees met die modelle waarna verwys word.

Die belangrikste genre van Chinese letterkunde is poësie vroeë volksliedere het die shi (shih) vorm wat tydens die Han -dinastie gekristalliseer het en vir die volgende 1200 jaar oorheers het. Begin met die eenvoudige klagtes en verlange wat in berymde koepels volksliedjies uitgedruk word, word hierdie vorm geleidelik meer en meer kompleks, of 'gereguleer', totdat dit jare se studie geneem het om die formele komposisieregels te bemeester.

Die kortverhaal, wat tydens die Tang -dinastie begin ontwikkel het, het aanvanklik beklemtoon óf historiese gebeure óf bonatuurlike gebeurtenisse wat nie in 'n formele historiese werk verband kon hou nie. Die idee van fiksie, wat verband hou met die geskiedenis, bly bestaan, maar tog meer verbeeldingryk en rasioneel onverklaarbaar, wat uitloop op die grootste roman van China, Die droom van die Rooi Kamer of Die verhaal van die klip, wat tegelyk outobiografies en realisties is, en tegelyk verbeeldingryk en mistiek is.

Drama, een van China se minder goed ontwikkelde genres, het ook sy oorsprong in gewilde vermaak. Die hoogtepunt van die elite -drama was tydens die Yuan -dinastie, toe intellektuele wat deur die Mongoolse indringers onteien is, hulle tot die samestelling van drama wend, beide om hul smaak en erudisie produktief aan te wend en ook om die buitelandse regering in die geheim te kritiseer. Gedurende die daaropvolgende eeue het dramas geneig om langer te word, en die opera oorheers. Gesproke drama was gewoonlik eers in die 20ste eeu opvallend.

Aan die begin van die 20ste eeu het die beweging om die literatuur van China te moderniseer en te verwestig, baie gewild geword. Die formele klassieke taal, wat toe slegs in geskrewe tekste bestaan ​​het, is vervang deur die spreektaal as literêre medium. Eksperimente met vrye vers- en sonnetvorms, kort outobiografiese verhale en interieurmonoloë, gesproke drama en radio- of filmskrifte is beïnvloed deur westerse modelle eerder as deur die klassieke Chinese tradisie. Die tema van China se benarde situasie oorheers egter die Chinese literatuur van die 20ste eeu, en die slinger het die afgelope ses dekades gereeld heen en weer gewissel tussen westerse nabootsing en gemoderniseerde style teenoor Chinese basis en konserwatiewe tegnieke. Terwyl die klassieke Chinese letterkunde dikwels gewaardeer is vir sy kunsvlyt en erudisie, is Chinese literatuur na 1919 grootliks geëvalueer in terme van die sosiale en politieke relevansie daarvan.

Baie Chinese literatuur van die 1920's en 1930's het nasionale sosiale probleme blootgelê en ook skrywers se twyfel uitgespreek oor die vind van lewensvatbare oplossings vir hierdie probleme.

In 1942 beklemtoon Mao Zedong, in sy & quotTalks at Yenan on Literature and Art, vir sy mede -kommunistiese rewolusionêres dat die doel van letterkunde nie was om die donker kant van die samelewing te weerspieël nie, maar om die outeur se eie private gevoelens of artistieke inspirasie uit te druk. Volgens hom moet letterkunde en kuns die massas inspireer deur positiewe voorbeelde van heroïsme en sosialistiese idealisme aan te bied. Dit moet ook geskryf word in die openbare stem en styl van die werkers, kleinboere en soldate, nie van die elite -intellektuele nie.

Gedurende die tydperk van die Kulturele Revolusie (1966-76) is Mao se beginsel dat literatuur en kuns die mense moet dien en sosialisme moet bevorder, die strengste nagekom. Die fiksie van Hao Ran (Hao Jan) is 'n uitstekende voorbeeld van hierdie neiging.

Literatuur na 1976

Met die dood van Mao Zedong in 1976 het die amptelike einde van die tydperk van die Kulturele Revolusie gekom, en daarmee die vryheid vir skrywers verhoog. Gedurende die daaropvolgende dekade was Chinese fiksie geneig om in die volgende vyf (noodwendig oorvleuelende) kategorieë te val:

1. Literatuur van die gewondes

Die aanvanklike impuls van skrywers sou eers, voorlopig, begin om die diepgaande lyding van die vorige dekades uit te druk. Die verhale van Chen Roxi in The Execution of Mayor Yin and Other Stories bied 'n voorbeeld van baie goed vervaardigde fiksie wat die fisiese, sielkundige en geestelike pyn onthul wat die Chinese mense onder Mao verduur het. Maar laastens moet Chen Roxi as 'n buitelander beskou word, alhoewel sy Chinees is en sy in die era van die Kulturele Revolusie in China gewoon het.

Binne China het die letterkunde van die gewonde beweging in die somer van 1977 begin toe Lu Xinhua, 'n 23-jarige student aan die Fudan Universiteit, 'n verhaal getiteld "Die gewonde" as 'n plakkaat met 'n groot karakter op die mure van die kampus aangebied het. Die verhaal is gou gepubliseer en dit het honderde ander geïnspireer. 'N Ander een wat ewe beroemd geraak het, was die "Class Counselor" van Liu Xinwu, gepubliseer in November 1977. In die verhaal van Liu slaag die jong meisie nie in 'n versoening met haar ma, wat sy tydens die kulturele revolusie gedwing het om aan die kaak te stel nie. 'N Klasadviseur met 'n oop gemoed erken dat daar nog hoop is vir die jeuggeslag wat deur die bende van vier gely het. Vir etlike jare het storie na verhaal die skuldgevoelens, spyt en pyn oor verlore lewens en verwoeste loopbane, verraad van vriende en familielede en die noodsaaklikheid om herstel te soek, uitgestort. Binne die & quotwunded & quot tradisie, alhoewel nie literatuur op sigself nie, het 'n aantal Chinese verslag gedoen oor hierdie tragiese tydperk vir Westerse gehore.

2. Humanistiese letterkunde

'N Verwante literêre neiging wat aan die einde van die sewentigerjare en vroeë tagtigerjare begin het, was fiksie wat die probleme van die herskep van die hele mens behandel het na die versnelde bewegings van die Kulturele Revolusie. 'N Groot aantal vroueskrywers oorheers in hierdie kategorie.

Aangesien persoonlike gevoelens tydens die kulturele rewolusie ondergeskik moes wees aan politieke optrede, gebruik skrywers wat na die dood van Mao in die teenoorgestelde rigting gereageer het, "Love Must Not Be Forgeten" die titel van een van Zhang Jie se kortverhale pleit vir die huwelik wat slegs op liefde en privaat begeerte gebaseer is.

Uiteindelik kan die donker kant van die Chinese samelewing weer in fiksie behandel word, en baie skrywers het werke saamgestel wat die post-kulturele rewolusie aangespreek het: vervreemde jeug, die eensaamheid van bejaardes en geskeides, die tekort aan huisvesting, korrupsie van die regering, ontevredenheid met die stelsel van werkopdragte, ens. In 'n gewaagde sosiale aanklag, het Bai Hua in sy draaiboek, "Onbeantwoorde liefde," die dogter van die protagonis die fundamentele vraag gevra: "Pappa, jy is lief vir ons land. Deur bitter frustrasie gaan jy voort om haar lief te hê. . . Maar, pa, is hierdie land lief vir jou? & Quot Hierdie skrif verskyn die eerste keer in 1979, en teen 1980 is dit verbied.

Sommige skrywers, veral diegene wat buite die hoofstede woon, het in hul onlangse fiksie na plaaslike temas en onderwerpe gegaan. Lu Wenfu beskryf byvoorbeeld die gebruike van die Suzhou -streek en Gao Xiaosheng beeld die landboulewe in sy geboorteland, Hunan, uit. Hierdie mense soek 'n betekenis in die lewe, los van politieke bewegings en stedelike opwaartse mobiliteit.

Sommige skrywers meen dat die belangrikste bydrae wat hulle kan lewer, is om die feite van die Chinese lewe op te teken op 'n manier wat die probleme en sterkpunte van die Chinese bevolking belig. Die bekendste joernalis wat korrupsie in sy gesofistikeerde verslagdoeningstyl blootlê, is Liu Binyan, wie se "People or Monsters?" Lof vir sy onwrikbare eerlikheid in die stryd met diepgewortelde regeringskorrupsie het.

In 'n ander toon bied Chinese profiele, saamgestel deur Zhang Xinxin en Sang Ye, onderhoude met 100 Chinese burgers wat oor hul lewens vertel op 'n manier wat soortgelyk is aan mense met wie Studs Terkel onderhoude gevoer het. Hulle verhale is aangrypend en verrassend as individuele verslae. Hulle belig die ryk sosiale struktuur van China en wys indirek op belangrike sosiale en politieke kwessies wat implisiet in die individuele rekeninge is.

Erkenning: Die konsultant vir hierdie eenheid was dr Marsha Wagner, Columbia Universiteit.


Inhoud

Literatuur en skryfwerk, alhoewel dit verbind is, is nie sinoniem nie. Die heel eerste geskrifte uit antieke Sumer volgens 'n redelike omskrywing vorm nie literatuur nie - dieselfde geld vir sommige van die vroeë Egiptiese hiërogliewe of die duisende logs van antieke Chinese regimes. Geleerdes het dikwels nie saamgestem oor wanneer skriftelike rekordhouding meer soos "letterkunde" lyk nie, maar die definisie is grotendeels subjektief.

Gegewe die belangrikheid van afstand as kulturele isolator in vroeëre eeue, het die historiese literatuurontwikkeling ook nie in 'n gelyke tempo oor die hele wêreld plaasgevind nie. Die probleme met die skep van 'n eenvormige wêreldwye literatuurgeskiedenis word vererger deur die feit dat baie tekste oor die millennia verlore gegaan het, hetsy doelbewus, per ongeluk, of deur die totale verdwyning van die kultuur wat ontstaan ​​het. Daar is byvoorbeeld baie geskryf oor die vernietiging van die biblioteek van Alexandrië in die 1ste eeu vC, en die ontelbare sleuteltekste wat vermoedelik vir ewig aan die vlamme verlore was. Die doelbewuste onderdrukking van tekste (en dikwels hul outeurs) deur organisasies van geestelike of tydelike aard omhul die onderwerp verder.

Sekere primêre tekste kan egter geïsoleer word, wat 'n kwalifiserende rol speel as die eerste roering van die literatuur. Baie vroeë voorbeelde sluit in Epos van Gilgamesj, in sy Sumeriese weergawe voor 2000 vC, en die Egiptiese boek van die dooies, wat in die Papirus van Ani in ongeveer 1250 vC, maar dateer waarskynlik uit ongeveer die 18de eeu vC. Antieke Egiptiese literatuur is nie ingesluit by vroeë studies oor die geskiedenis van letterkunde nie, omdat die geskrifte van Antieke Egipte eers in Europese tale vertaal is nadat die Rosetta -steen in die vroeë 19de eeu ontsyfer is.

Homerus Ilias en Odyssee dateer uit die 8ste eeu vC en was die begin van die klassieke oudheid. Hulle staan ​​ook in 'n mondelinge tradisie wat strek tot in die laat Bronstydperk.

China Redigeer

The Classic of Poetry (of Shijing) is die oudste bestaande versameling Chinese poësie, bestaande uit 305 werke van anonieme skrywers uit die 11de tot 7de eeu vC. Die Chu Ci -bloemlesing (of Songs of Chu) is 'n gedigbundel wat toegeskryf word aan of beskou word as geïnspireer deur Qu Yuan se versies. Qu Yuan is die eerste skrywer van vers in China wat sy naam met sy werk verbind het, en word ook beskou as een van die mees prominente figure van die romantiek in die klassieke Chinese literatuur.

Die eerste groot skrywer oor militêre taktiek en strategie was Sun Tzu, wie se Die kuns van oorlog bly op die rakke van baie moderne militêre offisiere (en sy advies is ook op die sakewêreld toegepas). Filosofie het baie anders ontwikkel in China as in Griekeland - eerder as om uitgebreide dialoë aan te bied, die Ontleders van Confucius en Lao Zi's Tao Te Ching sê woorde en spreuke meer direk en didakties. Die Zhuangzi bestaan ​​uit 'n groot versameling kreatiewe staaltjies, allegorieë, gelykenisse en fabels, 'n meesterstuk van sowel filosofiese as literêre vaardigheid, het dit skrywers en digters vir meer as 2000 jaar vanaf die Han -dinastie tot vandag toe aansienlik beïnvloed.

Onder die vroegste Chinese werke uit die verhaalgeskiedenis is Zuo Zhuan 'n juweel van klassieke Chinese prosa. Hierdie werk en die Shiji of Records of the Grand Historian is deur baie geslagte prosa -stiliste in antieke China beskou as die uiteindelike modelle.

Hebreeuse letterkunde Redigeer

Die boeke wat die Hebreeuse Bybel uitmaak, het ongeveer 'n millennium ontwikkel. Dit lyk asof die oudste tekste uit die elfde of tiende eeu vC kom, terwyl die meeste ander tekste ietwat later is. Dit is geredigeerde werke, wat versamelings van verskillende bronne is wat ingewikkeld en sorgvuldig aan mekaar geweef is.

Die Ou Testament is oor 'n tydperk van eeue deur verskillende mans [1] saamgestel en geredigeer, en baie geleerdes het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die Hebreeuse kanon omstreeks die 3de eeu vC verstewig is. [2] [3] Die werke is onderworpe aan verskillende literêre evaluerings (sekulêr en godsdienstig). Friedrich Nietzsche het geskryf: 'In die Joodse Ou Testament is daar manne, dinge en toesprake in 'n so groot styl dat die Griekse en Indiese letterkunde niks daarmee te vergelyk het nie. Mens staan ​​met ontsag en eerbied voor hierdie ontsaglike oorblyfsels van wat die mens eens was. Die smaak vir die Ou Testament is 'n toetssteen van 'grootheid' en 'kleinheid'. ” [4]

Klassieke oudheid Redigeer

Griekse letterkunde Redigeer

Die antieke Griekse samelewing het groot klem gelê op letterkunde. Baie skrywers beskou die westerse literêre tradisie as begin met die epiese gedigte Die Ilias en Die Odyssee, wat reuse bly in die literêre kanon vir hul vaardige en lewendige uitbeeldings van oorlog en vrede, eer en skande, liefde en haat. Opvallend onder latere Griekse digters was Sappho, wat liriese poësie op baie maniere gedefinieer het as 'n genre.

'N Drama met die naam Aeschylus het die Westerse letterkunde vir ewig verander toe hy die idees van dialoog en interaksie met karakters aan dramaturge voorgestel het. Daardeur het hy in wese 'drama' uitgevind: syne Oresteia Die trilogie van toneelstukke word beskou as sy bekroonde prestasie. Ander verfynings van dramaturg was Sophokles en Euripides. Sophocles word gekrediteer met die vaardigheid om ironie as literêre tegniek te ontwikkel, veral in sy toneelstuk Oedipus Rex. Euripedes, daarenteen, het toneelstukke gebruik om maatskaplike norme en gewoontes uit te daag - 'n kenmerk van 'n groot deel van die Westerse literatuur vir die volgende 2300 jaar en daarna - en sy werke soos Medea, Die Bacchae en Die Trojaanse vroue is nog steeds opvallend vir hul vermoë om ons opvattings oor behoorlikheid, geslag en oorlog uit te daag. Aristophanes, 'n komiese dramaturg, definieer en vorm die idee van komedie amper soos Aeschylus die tragedie as 'n kunsvorm gevorm het - Aristophanes se bekendste toneelstukke sluit in Lysistrata en Die paddas.

Filosofie betree letterkunde in die dialoë van Plato, wat die gee en neem van Sokratiese bevraagtekening in geskrewe vorm omskep het. Aristoteles, Plato se student, het tientalle werke oor baie wetenskaplike dissiplines geskryf, maar sy grootste bydrae tot die letterkunde was waarskynlik sy Poëtika, wat sy begrip van drama uiteensit en daardeur die eerste kriteria vir literêre kritiek stel.

Die Nuwe Testament is 'n ongewone versameling tekste-Johannes s'n Boek van Openbaringhoewel dit nie die eerste in sy soort is nie, definieer apokalips in wese 'n literêre genre.

Latynse letterkunde Redigeer

In baie opsigte het die skrywers van die Romeinse Republiek en die Romeinse Ryk besluit om innovasie te vermy ten gunste van die nabootsing van die groot Griekse skrywers. Virgil's Aeneis, op baie maniere, na Homers se nabootsing Ilias Plautus, 'n komiese dramaturg, het in die voetspore van Aristophanes Tacitus gevolg Annale en Germania volg in wese dieselfde historiese benaderings as wat Thucydides bedink het (die Christelike historikus Eusebius doen dit ook, alhoewel baie meer beïnvloed deur sy godsdiens as wat Tacitus of Thucydides deur die Griekse en Romeinse politeïsme was) Ovidius en sy Metamorfose verken dieselfde Griekse mites weer op nuwe maniere. Daar kan aangevoer word en is dat die Romeinse skrywers, verre van sinnelose kopieë, die genres verbeter het wat reeds deur hul Griekse voorgangers vasgestel is. Byvoorbeeld, Ovid's Metamorfose skep 'n vorm wat 'n duidelike voorganger van die genre van die bewussynsstroom is. Wat onmiskenbaar is, is dat die Romeine, in vergelyking met die Grieke, relatief min literêre style van hul eie innoveer.

Satire is een van die min Romeinse toevoegings tot die letterkunde - Horace was die eerste om satire op groot skaal as 'n argument te gebruik, en Juvenal het dit 'n wapen gemaak.

Augustinus van Seekoei en syne Die Stad van God doen vir godsdienstige letterkunde in wese wat Plato vir die filosofie gedoen het, maar Augustinus se benadering was baie minder gesprekryk en meer aktief. Syne Belydenisskrifte is miskien die eerste ware outobiografie, en dit het aanleiding gegee tot die genre van belydenisliteratuur wat nou meer gewild is as ooit.

Indië Redigeer

Kennisstradisies in Indië het filosofiese insamelings en teologiese konsepte oorgedra deur die twee tradisies van Shruti en Smriti, wat beteken dit wat geleer word en dit wat ervaar word, wat die Vedas ingesluit het. Daar word algemeen geglo dat die Puranas die vroegste filosofiese geskrifte in die Indiese geskiedenis is, hoewel taalkundige werke oor Sanskrit vroeër as 1000 vC bestaan ​​het. Puraniese werke soos die Indiese epos: Ramayana en Mahabharata, het talle ander werke beïnvloed, waaronder Balinese Kecak en ander optredes soos skadupoppery (wayang) en baie Europese werke. Pali -letterkunde het 'n belangrike posisie in die opkoms van Boeddhisme. Klassieke Sanskrit -literatuur blom in die Maurya- en Gupta -tydperke, wat ongeveer die 2de eeu vC tot die 8ste eeu nC strek. Klassieke Tamil -literatuur het ook in die vroeë historiese tydperk ontstaan ​​wat dateer uit 300 vC tot 300 nC, en is die vroegste sekulêre literatuur van Indië, wat hoofsaaklik handel oor temas soos liefde en oorlog.

Europa Wysig

Na die val van Rome (ongeveer 476), het baie van die literêre benaderings en style wat deur die Grieke en Romeine uitgevind is, in Europa in die onguns geval. In die ongeveer millennium wat tussen Rome se val en die Florentynse Renaissance ingegryp het, het die Middeleeuse literatuur meer en meer gefokus op geloofs- en geloofsverwante aangeleenthede, deels omdat die werke wat deur die Grieke geskryf is, nie in Europa bewaar was nie en daarom min was modelle van klassieke literatuur om van te leer en verder te beweeg. Wat min daar was, het verander en verdraai, en nuwe vorme het begin ontwikkel uit die verdraaiings. Sommige van hierdie verwronge begin van nuwe style kan gesien word in die literatuur wat algemeen beskryf word as Matter of Rome, Matter of France en Matter of Britain.

Alhoewel baie verlore gegaan het vir die verwoesting van die tyd (en vir rampe, soos tydens die verbranding van die Biblioteek van Alexandrië), het baie Griekse werke bestaan: dit is bewaar en versigtig gekopieer deur Moslem -skrifgeleerdes.

In Europa kom hagiografieë, oftewel "lewens van die heiliges" gereeld voor in die vroeë Middeleeuse tekste. Die geskrifte van Bede—Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum—En ander gaan voort op die geloofsgebaseerde historiese tradisie wat Eusebius begin in die vroeë 4de eeu begin het. Toneelskryf het in wese opgehou, behalwe vir die raaiselspeletjies en die passiespeletjies wat sterk gefokus het op die oordrag van Christelike geloof aan die gewone mense. Ongeveer 400 nC het die Prudenti Psychomachia begin met die tradisie van allegoriese verhale. Poësie floreer egter in die hande van die troubadours, wie se hoflike romanse en chanson de geste vermaak en vermaak die hoër klasse wat hul beskermhere was. Geoffrey van Monmouth het werke geskryf wat volgens hom geskiedenis van Brittanje was. Dit was uiters fantasieus en bevat verhale van die towenaar Merlin en koning Arthur. Epiese poësie het steeds ontwikkel met die toevoeging van die mitologieë van Noord -Europa: Beowulf en die Noorse sages het baie gemeen met Homerus en Virgil se benaderings tot oorlog en eer, terwyl gedigte soos Dante se Goddelike komedie en Geoffrey Chaucer se Die Canterbury -verhale neem baie verskillende stilistiese rigtings in.

In November 1095 het pous Urbanus II die eerste kruistog in die Council of Clermont gepreek. Die kruistogte sou nog baie jare in Europa en die Midde -Ooste 'n invloed hê, en letterkunde sou saam met alles anders verander word deur die oorloë tussen hierdie twee kulture. Die beeld van die ridder sou byvoorbeeld 'n ander betekenis kry. Ook die Islamitiese klem op wetenskaplike ondersoek en die behoud van die Griekse filosofiese geskrifte sou uiteindelik Europese literatuur beïnvloed.

Tussen Augustinus en Die Bybel, godsdienstige skrywers het talle aspekte van die Christendom gehad wat verdere verduideliking en interpretasie nodig gehad het. Thomas Aquinas, meer as enige ander enkele persoon, kon teologie in 'n soort wetenskap verander, deels omdat hy sterk beïnvloed was deur Aristoteles, wie se werke in die 13de eeu na Europa terugkeer.

Islamitiese wêreld Redigeer

Die bekendste fiksie uit die Islamitiese wêreld was Die boek van duisend en een nag (Arabiese nagte), wat 'n samestelling was van baie vroeëre volksverhale wat deur die Persiese koningin Scheherazade vertel is. Die epos het in die 10de eeu gestalte gekry en teen die 14de eeu sy finale vorm bereik, die aantal en tipe verhale het van een manuskrip na 'n ander gewissel. [5] Alle Arabiese fantasieverhale word dikwels "Arabian Nights" genoem wanneer dit in Engels vertaal is, ongeag of dit in Die boek van duisend en een nag, in enige weergawe, en 'n aantal verhale staan ​​in Europa bekend as 'Arabian Nights', ondanks die feit dat dit in geen Arabiese manuskrip bestaan ​​nie. [5]

Hierdie epos het 'n invloed in die Weste gehad sedert dit in die 18de eeu vertaal is, eers deur Antoine Galland. [6] Baie navolgings is veral in Frankryk geskryf. [7] Verskeie karakters uit hierdie epos het self kulturele ikone geword in die Westerse kultuur, soos Aladdin, Sinbad en Ali Baba. Geen middeleeuse Arabiese bron is egter opgespoor vir Aladdin, wat opgeneem is in Die boek van duisend en een nag deur sy Franse vertaler, Antoine Galland, wat dit gehoor het van 'n Arabiese Siriese Christelike storieverteller uit Aleppo. Die gewildheid van die werk kan deels te wyte wees aan groter algemene kennis van geskiedenis en aardrykskunde sedert dit geskryf is. Dit het beteken dat die aanneemlikheid van wonderwerke op 'n groter afstand ('lank gelede') en plek ('ver weg') bepaal moes word. Dit is 'n proses wat voortduur en uiteindelik uitloop op fantasiefiksie wat min verband het met die werklike tye en plekke. 'N Aantal elemente uit die Arabiese mitologie en die Persiese mitologie kom nou algemeen voor in moderne fantasie, soos genies, bahamuts, magiese tapyte, towerlampe, ens. [7] Toe L. Frank Baum voorstel om 'n moderne sprokie te skryf wat stereotipiese elemente verban het, het hy Ek voel die genie, dwerg en fee is stereotipes om te vermy. [8]

'N Aantal verhale binne die Duisend en een nag (Arabiese nagte) bevat ook wetenskapfiksie -elemente. Een voorbeeld is "The Adventures of Bulukiya", waar die protagonis Bulukiya se soeke na die kruid van onsterflikheid hom lei om die seë te verken, na die tuin van Eden en na Jahannam te reis en oor die kosmos te reis na verskillende wêrelde wat veel groter is as sy eie wêreld, terwyl hy elemente van galaktiese wetenskapfiksie [9] in die vooruitsig stel, ontmoet hy samelewings van jinns, [10] meerminne, sprekende slange, pratende bome en ander lewensvorme. [9] In 'n ander Arabiese nagte Die protagonis Abdullah the Fisherman kry die vermoë om onder water asem te haal en ontdek 'n onderwater duikboot samelewing wat uitgebeeld word as 'n omgekeerde weerspieëling van die samelewing op land, deurdat die onderwater samelewing 'n vorm van primitiewe kommunisme volg waar konsepte soos geld en klere nie bestaan. Ander Arabiese nagte verhale handel oor verlore antieke tegnologieë, gevorderde antieke beskawings wat verdwaal het en katastrofes wat dit oorweldig het. [11] "The City of Brass" bevat 'n groep reisigers op 'n argeologiese ekspedisie [12] dwarsdeur die Sahara om 'n ou verlore stad te vind en 'n kopervaartuig wat Salomo ooit gebruik het om 'n jinn te vang, [13] en ontmoet langs die pad 'n gemummifiseerde koningin, versteende inwoners, [14] lewensgetroue humanoïde robotte en outomate, verleidelike marionette wat sonder snare dans, [15] en 'n koper -ruiterrobot wat die partytjie na die antieke stad lei. "The Ebony Horse" beskik oor 'n robot [16] in die vorm van 'n vlieënde meganiese perd wat beheer word met sleutels wat in die buitenste ruimte en na die son kan vlieg, [17], terwyl die "Third Qalandar's Tale" ook 'n robot in die vorm bevat van 'n vreemde bootman. [16] "The City of Brass" en "The Ebony Horse" kan as vroeë voorbeelde van proto-wetenskaplike fiksie beskou word. [18]

Dante Alighieri's Goddelike komedie, beskou as die grootste epos van die Italiaanse literatuur, het baie kenmerke van en episodes oor die hiernamaals direk of indirek afgelei van Arabiese werke oor Islamitiese eskatologie: die Hadith en die Kitab al-Miraj (in 1264 of kort voor [19] in Latyn vertaal as Liberale skaal Machometi, "The Book of Muhammad's Ladder") aangaande Mohammed se hemelvaart en die geestelike geskrifte van Ibn Arabi. Die Moors het ook 'n merkbare invloed op die werke van George Peele en William Shakespeare gehad. Sommige van hul werke bevat Moorse karakters, soos dié van Peele Die Slag van Alcazar en die van Shakespeare Die handelaar van Venesië, Titus Andronicus en Othello, met 'n Moorse Othello as titelkarakter. Daar word gesê dat hierdie werke aan die begin van die 17de eeu geïnspireer is deur verskeie Moorse afvaardigings van Marokko na Elizabethaanse Engeland. [20]

Arabiese letterkunde Redigeer

Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) en Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288) was baanbrekers van die filosofiese roman. Ibn Tufail het die eerste fiktiewe Arabiese roman geskryf Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (Philosophus Autodidactus) as reaksie op al-Ghazali's Die onsamehangendheid van die filosowe, en toe skryf Ibn al-Nafis ook 'n roman Theologus Autodidactus as 'n reaksie op Ibn Tufail's Philosophus Autodidactus. Beide hierdie verhale het protagoniste gehad (Hayy in Philosophus Autodidactus en Kamil in Theologus Autodidactus) wat outodidaktiese wilde kinders was wat in afsondering op 'n woestyn -eiland gewoon het, albei die vroegste voorbeelde van 'n woestyn -eilandverhaal. Terwyl Hayy egter vir die res van die verhaal alleen woon met diere op die woestyn -eiland Philosophus Autodidactus, die verhaal van Kamil strek verder as die woestyn -eiland Theologus Autodidactuswat ontwikkel het tot die vroegste bekende ouderdom en uiteindelik die eerste voorbeeld van 'n science fiction -roman word. [21] [22]

Theologus Autodidactus handel oor verskillende wetenskapfiksie -elemente soos spontane generasie, futurologie, die einde van die wêreld en ondergang, opstanding en die hiernamaals. In plaas van om bonatuurlike of mitologiese verklarings vir hierdie gebeure te gee, het Ibn al-Nafis probeer om hierdie plotelemente te verduidelik met behulp van die wetenskaplike kennis van biologie, sterrekunde, kosmologie en geologie wat in sy tyd bekend was. Sy hoofdoel agter hierdie wetenskapfiksiewerk was om Islamitiese godsdienstige leerstellings in terme van wetenskap en filosofie deur middel van fiksie te verduidelik. [23]

'N Latynse vertaling van Ibn Tufail se werk, Philosophus Autodidactus, verskyn die eerste keer in 1671, voorberei deur Edward Pococke die Jongere, gevolg deur 'n Engelse vertaling deur Simon Ockley in 1708, asook Duitse en Nederlandse vertalings. Hierdie vertalings het Daniel Defoe later geïnspireer om te skryf Robinson Crusoe, 'n kandidaat vir die titel "eerste roman in Engels". [24] [25] [26] [27] Philosophus Autodidactus het Robert Boyle ook geïnspireer om sy eie filosofiese roman op 'n eiland te skryf, Die aspirant -natuurkundige. [28] Die verhaal het ook Rousseau s'n verwag Emile: of, oor onderwys op sommige maniere, en is ook soortgelyk aan die verhaal van Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's Die oerwoudboek sowel as die verhaal van Tarzan, deurdat 'n baba in die steek gelaat word, maar deur 'n moederwolf versorg en gevoed word. [ aanhaling nodig ]

Onder ander vernuwings in die Arabiese literatuur was Ibn Khaldun se perspektief op die geskiedenis van vorige gebeure - deur bonatuurlike verduidelikings heeltemal te verwerp, het Khaldun in wese die wetenskaplike of sosiologiese benadering tot die geskiedenis uitgevind. [ aanhaling nodig ]

Persiese letterkunde Redigeer

Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, die nasionale epos van Iran, is 'n mitiese en heroïese hervertelling van die Persiese geskiedenis. Dit is die langste epiese gedig wat ooit geskryf is.

Uit die Persiese kultuur is die boek wat uiteindelik die bekendste in die weste sou word, die Rubaiyat van Omar Khayyam. Die Rubáiyát is 'n digbundel van die Persiese wiskundige en sterrekundige Omar Khayyám (1048–1122). "Rubaiyat" beteken "kwatryne": verse van vier reëls.

Amir Arsalan was ook 'n gewilde mitiese Persiese verhaal, wat 'n paar moderne werke van fantasiefiksie beïnvloed het, soos Die heldhaftige legende van Arslan.

Voorbeelde van vroeë Persiese proto-wetenskapfiksie is Al-Farabi's Menings van die inwoners van 'n wonderlike stad oor 'n utopiese samelewing, en elemente soos die vlieënde tapyt. [29]

Ottomaanse letterkunde Redigeer

Die twee primêre strome van die Ottomaanse geskrewe literatuur is poësie en prosa. Van die twee was divaanse poësie verreweg die dominante stroom. Tot in die 19de eeu bevat die Ottomaanse prosa geen voorbeelde van fiksie nie, dit wil sê dat daar geen eweknieë was vir byvoorbeeld die Europese romanse, kortverhaal of roman nie (alhoewel analoog genres in 'n mate in beide die Turkse bestaan ​​het) volkstradisie en in divaanse poësie). Tot in die 19de eeu het Ottomaanse prosa nooit daarin geslaag om te ontwikkel in die mate wat hedendaagse divaanse poësie dit gedoen het nie. 'N Groot deel van die rede hiervoor was dat na verwagting baie prosa sou voldoen aan die reëls van sek ' (سجع, ook getranslitereer as sek), of berymde prosa, [30] 'n tipe skrif wat afkomstig is van die Arabies saj ' en wat voorgeskryf het dat daar 'n rym moet wees tussen elke byvoeglike naamwoord en selfstandige naamwoord in 'n sin.

Joodse letterkunde Redigeer

Middeleeuse Joodse fiksie gebruik dikwels antieke Joodse legendes en is in verskillende tale geskryf, waaronder Hebreeus en Joods-Arabies. Liturgiese Joodse poësie in Hebreeus floreer in Palestina in die sewende en agtste eeu met die geskrifte van Yose ben Yose, Yanai en Eleazar Kalir [31] Later het Joodse digters in Spanje, Provençaals en Italië sowel godsdienstige as sekulêre gedigte in Hebreeus geskryf, veral prominent digters was die Spaanse Joodse digters Solomon ibn Gabirol en Yehuda Halevi. Benewens poësie en fiksie, bevat die Middeleeuse Joodse letterkunde ook filosofiese literatuur, mistieke (Kabbalistiese) literatuur, etiese (musar) literatuur, regs (halachiese) literatuur en kommentaar op die Bybel.

Indië Redigeer

Vroeë Middeleeuse (Gupta -tydperk) literatuur in Indië sien die bloei van Sanskrit -drama, klassieke Sanskrit -poësie en die samestelling van die Puranas. Sanskrit neem af in die vroeë 2de millennium, laat werke soos die Kathasaritsagara dateer uit die 11de eeu, tot voordeel van literatuur wat saamgestel is in die Midde -Indiese vertalings soos Ou Bengali, Ou Hindi.

China Redigeer

Lyric poetry advanced far more in China than in Europe prior to 1000, as multiple new forms developed in the Han, Tang, and Song dynasties: perhaps the greatest poets of this era in Chinese literature were Li Bai and Du Fu.

Printing began in Tang Dynasty China. A copy of the Diamond Sutra, a key Buddhist text, found sealed in a cave in China in the early 20th century, is the oldest known dated printed book, with a printed date of 868. The method used was block printing.

The scientist, statesman, and general Shen Kuo (1031–1095 AD) was the author of the Dream Pool Essays (1088), a large book of scientific literature that included the oldest description of the magnetized compass. During the Song Dynasty, there was also the enormous historical work of the Zizhi Tongjian, compiled into 294 volumes of 3 million written Chinese characters by the year 1084 AD.

The true vernacular novel was developed in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). [ aanhaling nodig ] Some commentators feel that China originated the novel form with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (in the 14th century), although others feel that this epic is distinct from the novel in key ways. [ aanhaling nodig ] Fictional novels published during the Ming period include the Water Margin and the Journey to the West, which represent two of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Japan Redigeer

Classical Japanese literature generally refers to literature produced during the Heian Period, what some would consider a golden era of art and literature. The Tale of Genji (early 11th century) by Murasaki Shikibu is considered the pre-eminent masterpiece of Heian fiction and an early example of a work of fiction in the form of a novel. It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first romance novel, or the first novel to still be considered a classic.

Other important works of this period include the Kokin Wakashū (905), a waka-poetry anthology, and The Pillow Book (990s), the latter written by Murasaki Shikibu's contemporary and rival, Sei Shōnagon, as an essay about the life, loves, and pastimes of nobles in the Emperor's court. Die iroha poem, now one of two standard orderings for the Japanese syllabary, was also written during the early part of this period.

The 10th-century Japanese narrative, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, can be considered an early example of proto-science fiction. The protagonist of the story, Kaguya-hime, is a princess from the Moon who is sent to Earth for safety during a celestial war, and is found and raised by a bamboo cutter in Japan. She is later taken back to the Moon by her real extraterrestrial family. A manuscript illustration depicts a disc-shaped flying object similar to a flying saucer. [32]

In this time the imperial court patronized the poets, most of whom were courtiers or ladies-in-waiting. Editing anthologies of poetry was a national pastime. Reflecting the aristocratic atmosphere, the poetry was elegant and sophisticated and expressed emotions in a rhetorical style.

Had nothing occurred to change literature in the 15th century but the Renaissance, the break with medieval approaches would have been clear enough. The 15th century, however, also brought Johann Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press, an innovation (for Europe, at least) that would change literature forever. Texts were no longer precious and expensive to produce—they could be cheaply and rapidly put into the marketplace. Literacy went from the prized possession of the select few to a much broader section of the population (though by no means universal). As a result, much about literature in Europe was radically altered in the two centuries following Gutenberg's unveiling of the printing press in 1455.

William Caxton was the first English printer and published English language texts including Le Morte d'Arthur (a collection of oral tales of the Arthurian Knights which is a forerunner of the novel) and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. These are an indication of future directions in literature. With the arrival of the printing press a process begins in which folk yarns and legends are collected within a frame story and then mass published.

In the Renaissance, the focus on learning for learning's sake causes an outpouring of literature. Petrarch popularized the sonnet as a poetic form Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron made romance acceptable in prose as well as poetry François Rabelais rejuvenates satire with Gargantua and Pantagruel Michel de Montaigne single-handedly invented the essay and used it to catalog his life and ideas. Perhaps the most controversial and important work of the time period was a treatise printed in Nuremberg, entitled De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium: in it, the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus removed the Earth from its privileged position in the universe, which had far-reaching effects, not only in science, but in literature and its approach to humanity, hierarchy, and truth.

A new spirit of science and investigation in Europe was part of a general upheaval in human understanding which began with the European discovery of the New World in 1492 and continues through the subsequent centuries, even up to the present day.

The form of writing now commonplace across the world—the novel—originated from the early modern period and grew in popularity in the next century. Before the modern novel became established as a form there first had to be a transitional stage when "novelty" began to appear in the style of the epic poem.

Plays for entertainment (as opposed to religious enlightenment) returned to Europe's stages in the early modern period. William Shakespeare is the most notable of the early modern playwrights, but numerous others made important contributions, including Molière, Pierre Corneille, Jean Racine, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson. From the 16th to the 18th century Commedia dell'arte performers improvised in the streets of Italy and France. Some Commedia dell'arte plays were written down. Both the written plays and the improvisation were influential upon literature of the time, particularly upon the work of Molière. Shakespeare drew upon the arts of jesters and strolling players in creating new style comedies. All the parts, even the female ones, were played by men (en travesti) but that would change, first in France and then in England too, by the end of the 17th century.

The epic Elizabethan poem The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser was published, in its first part, in 1590 and then in completed form in 1597. The Fairie Queen marks the transitional period in which "novelty" begins to enter into the narrative in the sense of overturning and playing with the flow of events. Theatrical forms known in Spenser's time such as the Masque and the Mummers' Play are incorporated into the poem in ways which twist tradition and turn it to political propaganda in the service of Queen Elizabeth I.

The earliest work considered an opera in the sense the work is usually understood dates from around 1597. It is Dafne, (now lost) written by Jacopo Peri for an elite circle of literate Florentine humanists who gathered as the "Camerata".

The 17th century is considered the greatest era of literature both in Spain, where it is called the Spanish Golden Age (Siglo de Oro), and in France, where it is known as the Grand Siècle (Great Century). The most famous French authors, beside playwrights, include Jean de La Fontaine and Charles Perrault known primarily for their fables.

Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quichote has been called "the first novel" by many literary scholars (or the first of the modern European novels). It was published in two parts. The first part was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. It might be viewed as a parody of Le Morte d'Arthur (and other examples of the chivalric romance), in which case the novel form would be the direct result of poking fun at a collection of heroic folk legends. This is fully in keeping with the spirit of the age of enlightenment which began from about this time and delighted in giving a satirical twist to the stories and ideas of the past. It's worth noting that this trend toward satirising previous writings was only made possible by the printing press. Without the invention of mass-produced copies of a book it would not be possible to assume the reader will have seen the earlier work and will thus understand the references within the text.

The new style in English poetry during the 17th century was that of the metaphysical movement. The metaphysical poets were John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell and others. Metaphysical poetry is characterised by a spirit of intellectual investigation of the spiritual, rather than the mystical reverence of many earlier English poems. The metaphysical poets were clearly trying to verstaan the world around them and the spirit behind it, instead of accepting dogma on the basis of faith.

In the middle of the century the king of England was overthrown and a republic declared. In the new regime (which lasted from 1649 to 1653) the arts suffered. In England and the rest of the British Isles Oliver Cromwell's rule temporarily banned all theatre, festivals, jesters, mummers plays and frivolities. The ban was lifted when the monarchy was restored with Charles II. The Drury Lane theatre was favorite of King Charles.

In contrast to the metaphysical poets was John Milton's paradys verlore, an epic religious poem in blank verse. Milton had been Oliver Cromwell's chief propagandist and suffered when the Restoration came. paradys verlore is one of the highest developments of the epic form in poetry immediately preceding the era of the modern prose novel.

Other early novelists include Daniel Defoe (born 1660) and Jonathan Swift (born 1667).


Reis na die Weste

Perhaps the most influential of the four classic novels of Chinese literature, and certainly the most widely known beyond China’s borders, Reis na die Weste was written in the 16th century by Wu Cheng’en. It depicts the pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang to India, and his resultant travels through the Western provinces of China, accompanied by his three disciples. Whilst the framework of the story is based on Buddhism, the novel draws on a host of Chinese folk tales and mythology, as well as pantheism and Taoism to create its fantastical cast of characters and creatures. These creatures include various demons who Xuanzang encounters along his travels, and a variety of animal-spirits who assume human form. This latter category includes the three disciples, who are characterised as a monkey, a pig and a river ogre, and who are bound to Xuanzang as they attempt to atone for their past sins. An early and partial English translation of Reis na die Weste by Arthur Waley was entitled Aap and focused on the exploits of this character, which has also been the case with many subsequent adaptations. Journey to the West was an early example of the Shenmo genre, which incorporated a range of fantastical fiction focusing on the exploits of gods or demons, and was very prominent in the rise of vernacular Chinese literature during the Ming dynasty, as the centuries old folk tales were written and disseminated for the first time. Journey to the West was the most famous example of the Shenmo, and remains omnipresent in China, in a huge variety of adaptations. The novels continued relevance is a reflection of its paradigmatic qualities, as with the Greek myths of Homer, it set down the ancient myths of Chinese culture for the first time, and remains a repository for those myths even today.


Chinese Literature - History

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 en The True Story of Ah Q by Lu Xun, the poetry anthology The Goddesses by Guo Moruo, the novel Middernag by Mao Dun, the trilogy novels Family, Spring en Herfs by Ba Jin, the novel Camel Xiangzi by Lao She, and the plays Thunderstorm en Sonopkoms by Cao Yu.

The founding of New China in 1949 serves as a signpost for the beginning of contemporary Chinese literature. Works of this period reflect the hard struggle and tremendous sacrifices during the long War of Liberation, and eulogize the selflessness displayed in the building of socialist New China.

The representative works are the novels Red Crag by Luo Guangbin and Yang Yiyan, Song of Youth by Yang Mo, The Hurricane by Zhou Libo and Builders of a New Life by Liu Qing. During the 10-year "cultural revolution" (1966-1976), literature was deliberately hamstrung, leaving a desolate literary wasteland.

But since the reform and opening to the outside world started in 1978, literary creation has entered a new period. Some works of the early period of the new era mainly described the emotional wounds the people suffered during the "cultural revolution." The main works include The Wound by Lu Xinhua, The Blood-stained Magnolia by Cong Weizi, Mimosa by Zhang Xianliang, A Small Town Called Hibiscus by Gu Hua and The Snowstorm Tonight by Liang Xiansheng.

Some works are called works "seeking the roots," for example, Red Sorghum by Mo Yan, Black Steed by Zhang Chengzhi and Troubled Life by ChiLi. In recent years, a diversifying tendency has appeared in literary works. Those with historical themes include The Young Son of Heaven by Lin Li, Zeng Guofan by Tang Haoming, Emperor Yongzheng by Eryue He and Mending the Crack in the Sky by Huo Da. Making a Decision by Zhang Ping and Farewell to the Bitter Winter by Zou Yuezhao reflect current real life.


Indian Literature and Historical Epics

Among the most developed in length of narrative and in chronological literature are the literary epics from the Indian subcontinent. Sheldon Pollock’s study of the origins and development of Sanskrit literature as both an administrative language and as an ideology is a pioneering work (Pollock 2006). The rise of the Veda and Vedic literature dates to the end of the BCE period and among its successors, is the Mahābharāta historical epic of conquest and battle and the later Rāmāyana literature and other texts based on the Sanskrit language and writing system introduced by the landowning elite and their court society who dominated power (Pollock, 78).

Several studies note that before the codification of laws, the warrior class or caste developed their sense of ideology and ethics from stories and epics (McGrath 2004).


Tag: Chinese History

Who owned the 1930’s: the author who gave us talking Martian cats, or the one who gave us a sentient decapitated head? Yes, it was a weird decade, was the 1930’s. Join us to learn more!


The study and stature of Chinese literature died a slow death following the country&rsquos economic resurgence. But there are signs of a revival that would strengthen the form&rsquos most traditional aspects.

Young people have traditionally stood at the front-line of modern Chinese literature, but with the untimely death of the 1990s writer Wang Xiaobo, no new standard for young intellectuals has emerged. Significant side-traditions in the story of modern Chinese literature have continued to grow, for instance in wuxia novels, in the dime-book romances of Sanmao and others, and in chatty fictionalizations of court-intrigues such as &ldquoMingchao naxie shier&rdquo (&ldquoGossip from the Ming Court&rdquo), now quicker than before with the rise of China&rsquos internet community. But what has disappeared is a serious literature, written by contemporary Chinese authors that engages with and challenges the reader.

This is perhaps surprising when the writer played a truly significant role in shaping public opinion from the inception of Communist Party rule until the 1990s. Though this role was strictly curtailed during the Mao years, for many it was still possible to produce good, essentially nationalist literature that both supported policy and urged people to be proactive in their role in a revolution that made many feel increasingly impotent. This was evident in the profusion of poetry and short stories dealing with the harrowing &rsquo60s and &rsquo70s by those writing in the 1980s, the so-called &ldquoscar generation&rdquo.

So what happened? Firstly, there was a general deterioration of trust between intellectuals/students and the state, the rebuilding of which remains one of China&rsquos most severe internal problems, and will no doubt grow more pressing with the government&rsquos attempt to spread its &ldquosoft power&rdquo. Secondly, my impression is that many parents &ldquoforesaw&rdquo nothing coming for future writers and so actively discouraged their children from engaging with contemporary writing. With the unprecedented turn in Chinese education towards the study of western languages and business, such skills seemed like a waste anyway.

The writer was abandoned by his natural friends and supporters and was left with very few roads to take. Chinese art generally has shown a regrettable tendency towards extreme or just shocking behaviour, the origins of which all seem to lie in the 1990s. Ma Liuming&rsquos body-art managed to be risqué without being tasteless to so many, but there is a direct line between this school and the later extreme artistic creations of Zhu Yu, famous for his &ldquoeating-people&rdquo photo series. Jia Pingwa has produced saucy tales galore for his limited public, but the tendency was inevitably taken too far in Annie Baobei&rsquos stories, which once described a sex act with a European on university campus, right in front of the mandatory and, in many respects, sacred Mao Zedong statue.

Chinese authors have also managed to commit partial self-destruction by making alliances with western academics and often consciously pandering to western ideals of what a writer in China should be like. This is no doubt seen as an act of treachery by the government and others in China, but interestingly enough has proved so ineffective in raising an author&rsquos cultural cache amongst their own people that publishing parties for English translations of banned books have been held right in the centre of Beijing.

So have all the three actors discussed above &ndash politicians, proletariat and writers &ndash combined to make Chinese literature as good as gone, pure history?

I think the answer is that this holds more or less true for the current generation, which has no reason to become excited about its own nation&rsquos literature. But the generation that follows, perhaps those Chinese being born today or within the last, say, ten years, will quite naturally find something, even if it is simply an economic incentive in hauling Chinese literature out of its self-dug grave.

I think we can be confident in this assertion because of the parents of this new generation, especially urban parents. Many of these people already have the funds and contacts to allow a child freedom from the gruelling Darwinian grind that has been the spectre of so much of their own lives. This is not to mention the simple fact of property, which they want quite justifiably to simply hand down to their children in joint living arrangements. These children will be free to develop a range of interests, and we will see a surge in demand for those attributes which, in Chinese society, can differentiate two people of equal wealth &ndash their level of culture. Informal clubs are already sprouting up over campuses and across suburbs for sketching, film discussions and reading groups. The implications of this for a resurgence of literature should not be underestimated, and perhaps it will come sooner than we think.

Of course, this needs a breakthrough figure, and we almost saw one a few years ago in the shape of Han Han, that rally-driver turned dispassionate blog-artist whose comments and opinions were better known than anyone else&rsquos in China from 2008-9. Han Han has rather regrettably been led to understand that he should no longer blog in &ldquoinflammatory&rdquo terms, but that might ultimately be an unwise move on the part of those elements. A small example was Han Han&rsquos posting on the train-disaster that rocked China last summer, a simple pair of closed speech marks, indicative of how much the young in China are finding what they want to say, and what they now see as the extreme and outdated thought directed against them: &ldquo&rdquo. This provocative non-comment was itself commented upon several tens of thousands of times within a few hours, and was the subject of two Masters degree theses in the United States. Even Mo Yan&rsquos recent winning the Nobel Prize of Literature has caused nothing like the stir caused by this solitary rally driver.

But there remain enough people able to see both sides of the coin with Han Han for me to doubt his continuing influence or that of any contemporary blogger. The danger here is that government interference with the Internet will succeed in turning people who sit in this middle zone towards protest, but the result will not be literature so much as the continuing working out of the regrettable growing pains of China&rsquos literature-less generation. International support for these communities will probably continue to have the opposite effect in alienating those who do speak out, much in the way that Chen Guangcheng&rsquos recent decision to go into self-imposed exile in the US has done nothing but to give the average Chinese person the impression that his noble cause has become a device used by western nations to shame China.

This is perhaps all rather sad, but I think the resurgence we can look forward to is sure to be in a more traditional form of literature. Once the Chinese youth teach themselves instead of simply being taught what is their literature and what their role as writers should be, as was impressed consciously or sub-consciously on the minds of anybody writing between 1949 and the 1990s once the international community grants them certain breathing spaces and removes the Pyrrhic victory of escape to a western nation then they are on the way towards redefining the literati community&rsquos fundamental position of independence, rather than supporting pillar of the state. This seems a stage in the growth of a mature Chinese society for what lies ahead, balancing the bureaucracy of education with its purely intellectual alternative, the passion for service to family, country, and people with the human need for proper distance from other humans, and the need for forces and minds to stand in something approaching harmony as a result. This is what so much of the best Chinese poetry, such as Yuanming, manages to show, and it is also a better reflection of how the stakes have stood in China for at least 500 years.

In short, we are witnessing the death of modern Chinese literature, but traditional Chinese literature may rise again in its place.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer's editorial policy.

Image: Copyright © Shutterstock . Alle regte voorbehou.


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Chinese literature

People from different parts of China sometimes cannot understand each other’s speech, but they all can read Chinese literature. That is because the Chinese language is written using thousands of complicated characters that stand for things or ideas instead of sounds. Chinese is one of the world’s oldest written languages, with a history dating back more than 3,000 years.

Ancient Writings

The philosopher Confucius, who lived from 551 to 479 bce , is regarded as one of the most important people in ancient Chinese civilization. His own writings have not survived. His followers, however, wrote down a collection of his sayings in Lun yü (Analects). It is the best single source for Confucian wisdom.

The books called the Five Classics are among the most important works of ancient Chinese literature. They were brought together in about the time of Confucius, and he may have had something to do with editing them. They have been used for more than 2,000 years as guides for personal behavior, good government, and religious conduct. They have also provided models for good writing.

Probably the most famous of the Five Classics is the Yi jing (sometimes written as I ching Classic of Changes). It is a fortune-teller’s manual and guide to philosophy that was written down long before Confucius’ time. Die Shu jing (Classic of History) is a collection of documents and speeches. Die Li ji (Record of Rites) is a book of rituals, and the Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Annals) is a history of the state of Lu, where Confucius was born. The classic that is most interesting as literature is the Shi jing (Classic of Poetry), a collection of 305 songs. Among them are folk ballads, courtly songs, and songs of praise. Most were already hundreds of years old at the time they were compiled.

Another of the great works of ancient China is the Daode jing (Classic of the Way of Power). This book presents the teachings of Laozi, the founder of Daoism, an Eastern philosophy and religion. Laozi was only slightly older than Confucius, and the two philosophers may have met each other.

Literature of the Early Dynasties

In 221 bce China was united under the rule of Shi Huangdi, who started the Qin Dynasty. He was determined to govern with absolute authority. Shi Huangdi often found himself at odds with the Confucian scholars, who did not approve of his harsh rule. In 213 bce he ordered the destruction of all texts that he thought threatened his power.

After the Qin Dynasty came the Han Dynasty (206 bce –220 ce ). The Han rulers actively promoted literature. The Five Classics were restored to favor, a music bureau was formed to collect folk songs, and traditional poetry flourished. The masterpiece of the period was the Shi ji (Historical Records), by Sima Qian. Completed in about 85 bce , it is a vast record of about 2,000 years of Chinese history.

After the Han rulers, China experienced nearly 400 years of civil war. This period is called the Six Dynasties. Folk songs were popular during this time. Among the folk songs of northern China was “Mu-lan shi” (Ballad of Mu Lan), which tells of a girl who disguised herself as a warrior and won glory on the battlefield.

During the Sui Dynasty (581–618 ce ) that followed, China was finally reunited under one ruler. The major poet of the period was Tao Qian, a government official who retired from his duties to live with his family in a farming village. He became China’s first great nature poet, and his plain style influenced many later writers.

As Confucian standards were challenged, first by Daoism and then by Buddhism, prose writers stressed individuality. Their revolt was reflected in the 5th-century style called “pure conversation,” which was used for essays discussing important ideas.

Golden Age of Poetry

The period from 681 to 960 was the time of the Tang Dynasty and the Five Dynasties. This was China’s golden age of poetry. The works of more than 2,000 poets from the period have been preserved. Poets followed traditional verse forms but also adopted new ones. Among these was the popular ci, a song form. Die ci was made up of lines of irregular length (as short as one syllable or as long as 11 syllables). It remained a major style of poetry for hundreds of years.

Two of the greatest poets of Chinese literature lived in the 8th century, during the Tang Dynasty. Li Bo was a romantic whose verse celebrates merriment, friendship, and nature. Du Fu delighted in the beauties of nature, but he also was a critic and humorist. He condemns war and injustice in his writings.

The great prose writer of the time was Han Yu. He brought Chinese prose writing back to the free and simple style of the ancient philosophers. His essays, among the most beautiful written in Chinese, became models for later writers. At his death in 824 he was given the honored title Prince of Letters.

Sung, Mongol, and Ming Dynasties

During the Song Dynasty (960–1279) the ci form of poetry and song reached its greatest heights. One of the greatest poets of this period was a woman, Li Qingzhao. Although only fragments of her many poems survive, it is clear that she wrote very personal verse about the joys of love and the despair of being separated from her husband. Prose writers of this time began to tell stories in the everyday speech of the common people. These narratives were mostly fictionalized versions of history.

The period of Mongol rule over China is called the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368). During this time more than 1,700 musical plays were written by more than 100 dramatists. Perhaps the greatest playwright of the time was Guan Hanqing. He wrote about common experiences in a simple manner. Among his best works is Doue yuan (Injustice Suffered by Doue), a drama about a luckless widow. Wang Shifu’s drama Xi xiang ji (Romance of the Western Chamber) remains popular today. Many long works of fiction were also written during this time. One important novelist was Luo Guanzhong. His best-known work is San guo yan yi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), a historical novel written in an ordinary, everyday style.

After the Mongols, China was ruled by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), which restored old traditions in literature. Writers tended to imitate past forms and styles. But they did produce some outstanding works of fiction. Byvoorbeeld, Jin ping mei (Gold Vase Plum), written by an unknown author, was the first realistic novel about Chinese society. It describes the shameful behavior of a well-to-do businessman. It became one of the most popular Chinese novels.

Qing -dinastie

China’s last dynasty was the Qing. The Qing emperors were Manchus from the region north of China. During most of the period Chinese literature tended to be old-fashioned. Genuine creativity was rare. But in the 17th century the writer Cao Zhan produced Hong lou meng (Droom van die Rooi Kamer), which is usually considered to be China’s greatest novel. It tells of the decline of a powerful family.

Toward the end of the Qing Dynasty China had its first meaningful contact with Europe, and ideas from the West began to influence Chinese writers. Die roman Lao Can you ji (1904–07 The Travels of Lao Can) by Liu E pointed out the problems of the weakening dynasty, which was soon overthrown by revolution.

Modern Times

The Nationalist revolution of 1911–12 did away with China’s imperial government, ending the control of the dynastic leaders. For about the next 40 years China was in a state of disorder. Writers used everyday language to champion bold new ideas about government and literature. One of the leading literary figures of the period was Chen Duxiu, a founder of China’s Communist Party. Another was Zhou Shuren, who is better known as Lu Xun. His “Kuangren riji” (1918 “Diary of a Madman”) was the first Western-style short story written in Chinese.

To readers outside of China, the country’s best-known 20th-century author was Lin Yutang, who lived from 1895 to 1976. After writing essays and editing periodicals in China, Lin traveled widely in foreign countries. He wrote many works in English about his country.

In 1949 China experienced another revolution, led by the Communist Mao Zedong. Mao launched programs to control every aspect of Chinese life, including art and literature. Countless written works were produced reflecting Communist policies and ideas. Novels such as Taiyang zhao zai Sangganhe shang (1949 The Sun Shines over the Sangkan River) by Ding Ling deal with issues of land reform. In 1966 Mao began the Cultural Revolution, a period of turmoil during which writers and other intellectuals were attacked.

In 2000 Gao Xingjian became the first writer in the Chinese language to win the Nobel prize for literature. Gao’s best-known works were modern-style plays such as Chezhan (1983 The Bus Stop). Gao’s writings stirred up controversy in China and were eventually banned. He left China in 1987 and won the Nobel Prize for Literature as a citizen of France.


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