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Heritage of ChinaContemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization$
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Paul Ropp

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064409

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064409.001.0001

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The Distinctive Art of Chinese Fiction

The Distinctive Art of Chinese Fiction

(p.309) Thirteen The Distinctive Art of Chinese Fiction
Heritage of China

Paul S. Ropp

University of California Press

This chapter presents a discussion on Chinese poetry. The Chinese had a rich vocabulary for writing poetry. Chinese poetry became a way to create community, both speaking to others in the present and creating a living community across time. The Book of Songs was the beginning of Chinese poetry, and it was a beginning in lyric rather than in epic and drama. The poetry of the T'ang dynasty set the model for poetry in traditional China for the next 1,000 years. Occasional poetry was an important form of participation in the social world. However, it was not the only kind of poetry that existed. As in Western poetry, there were poems on general topics; and although poets still preferred concrete occasions for composition, those occasions did not have to be social ones. Generally, Chinese poetry tried to be part of life, giving words to complex feelings.

Keywords:   Chinese poetry, Book of Songs, T'ang dynasty, traditional China, occasional poetry, Western poetry

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