History of Chinese Literature


Joshua J. Mark
published on 12 April 2024

Ancient Chinese literature developed following the evolution of script which evolved from divination practices of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). The pictographs made on oracle bones by diviners became the script known as Jiaguwen (c. 1600-1000 BCE) which developed into Dazhuan (c. 1000-700 BCE), Xiaozhuan (700 BCE to present), and Lishu (the so-called "Clerky Script", c. 500 BCE).

From these came Kaishu, Xingshu, and Caoshu, cursive scripts which writers later used in prose and poetry to create the great works of Chinese literature. The following collection presents a brief overview of this development.



Questions & Answers

How did Chinese literature develop?

Chinese literature developed after the invention of Chinese script which came from the markings on oracle bones used in divination during the Shang Dynasty, 1600-1046 BCE.

What was the greatest period of Chinese literature?

The Tang Dynasty (618-907) is considered the greatest period of Chinese literature.

When was The Legend of Mulan written?

The Poem of Mulan first appears in the 6th century CE.

Is The Song of Everlasting Sorrow based on a true story?

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow is inspired by the true story of Emperor Xuanzong and his consort Lady Yang of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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