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Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #302)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  32 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Perhaps nowhere else has literature been as conscious a collective endeavor as in China, and China's survival over three thousand years may owe more to its literary traditions than to its political history. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Chinese literature from antiquity to the present, focusing on the key role literary culture played in supporting social ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 3rd 2012 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published December 27th 2011)
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Justin Evans
Nov 03, 2014 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good little book. Every time I think I'm done with the VSI series, I find something like this. Knight tries to have a narrative; she deals with contemporary hot-buttons without letting said hot-buttons overwhelm the fact that a VSI has to actually, you know, introduce its subject matter rather than just complain about it; she deals with most of the books you've heard of and probably a few you haven't. Also, it's nicely written. I have no idea why people are complaining about it so ...more
Peter
Nov 20, 2014 Peter rated it liked it
Simplified characters would have been appreciated. In the eBook version, the characters are pictures and when expanded to try to view them, they are blurred beyond distinction.

No poetry by Li Bai? The excerpts of two plays also seemed arbitrary and not illustrative. On the whole, a useful introduction for the interested and uninitiated.
Jackson Cyril
Aug 10, 2015 Jackson Cyril rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china
Life is much too short and there are far too many good books. While this is a wonderful survey of Chinese literature from its beginnings to the present, I do lament that I will probably never get to read many of these beautiful works (heck I haven't read most of the great works of Tamil and English literature).
KW Wong
Jul 11, 2015 KW Wong rated it it was amazing
Excellently organised.
David
May 29, 2012 David rated it liked it
Is it possible to survey one of the oldest bodies of world literature in barely 120 pages? No, of course it isn't. There are some strange gaps here (the 19th century is weirdly absent) and parts of the book appear rushed, but overall this book does its job of providing an efficient and intriguing survey of Chinese literature - it's certainly put a few new books on my reading list.
jwberryhill
Dec 25, 2013 jwberryhill rated it it was ok
Shelves: china
It is very short, and it touches on most of the basic works, but the coverage is so superficial as to render it barely above a wikipedia-level of understanding. I would seek another introduction if I have any further interest in this topic.
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