"Chinese Literature". Anti Essays. 13 Oct. 2017

To keep the matter in perspective, let me repeat what I said atthe beginning of this essay: that in England the immediate enemiesof truthfulness, and hence of freedom of thought, are the presslords, the film magnates, and the bureaucrats, but that on a longview the weakening of the desire for liberty among theintellectuals themselves is the most serious symptom of all. It mayseem that all this time I have been talking about the effects ofcensorship, not on literature as a whole, but merely on onedepartment of political journalism. Granted that Soviet Russiaconstitutes a sort of forbidden area in the British press, grantedthat issues like Poland, the Spanish civil war, the Russo-Germanpact, and so forth, are debarred from serious discussion, and thatif you possess information that conflicts with the prevailingorthodoxy you are expected to either distort it or keep quiet aboutit–granted all this, why should literature in the wider sensebe affected? Is every writer a politician, and is every booknecessarily a work of straightforward "reportage"? Even under thetightest dictatorship, cannot the individual writer remain freeinside his own mind and distill or disguise his unorthodox ideas insuch a way that the authorities will be too stupid to recognizethem? And in any case, if the writer himself is in agreement withthe prevailing orthodoxy, why should it have a cramping effect onhim? Is not literature, or any of the arts, likeliest to flourishin societies in which there are no major conflicts of opinion andno sharp distinction between the artist and his audience? Does onehave to assume that every writer is a rebel, or even that a writeras such is an exceptional person?

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Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR)

The purest (or, at least, the most intense) literary form is the lyric poem, and after it comes elegiac, epic, dramatic, narrative, and expository verse. Most theories of literary criticism base themselves on an analysis of poetry, because the aesthetic problems of literature are there presented in their simplest and purest form. Poetry that fails as literature is not called poetry at all but verse. Many novels — certainly all the world’s great novels — are literature, but there are thousands that are not so considered. Most great dramas are considered literature (although the Chinese, possessors of one of the world’s greatest dramatic traditions, consider their plays, with few exceptions, to possess no literary merit whatsoever).

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CLEAR was created based on discussions between eight scholars‒Eugene Eoyang, Joseph S. M. Lau, Leo Ou-fan Lee, Wu-chi Liu, Irving Lo, Ronald Miao, William H. Nienhauser, Jr., and William Schultz‒from the universities of Arizona, Indiana and Wisconsin spread over the early months of 1977. The journal was formally launched at a meeting on 18 March 1977 in Irving Lo’s living room in Bloomington, IN. Over the next year the founding editors, Eoyang and Nienhauser, received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Association for Asian Studies, and the three affiliated universities as well as from members of the original editorial board (especially Elling Eide and Irving Lo) and individuals (especially Nancy C. Ing), allowing the production of the first two issues in 1979. Over the years CLEAR has published symposia, essays, articles, reviews and occasional forums on all aspects of traditional and modern Chinese literature. It is still the only western-language periodical devoted to Chinese literature. Having gained a worldwide reputation and audience, CLEAR now appears annually in December under the direction of editors Haun Saussy, Michelle Yeh and W. Nienhauser.
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Chinese Literature - Essay by Bunglaboko - Anti Essays

The arrest of and the other members of the in 1976, and especially the reforms initiated at the in December 1978, led writers to take up their pens again. Much of the literature in what would be called the "new era" (新时期) discussed the serious abuses of power that had taken place at both the national and the local levels during the . The writers decried the waste of time and talent during that decade and bemoaned abuses that had held China back. This literature, often called "," or "the literature of the wounded," discussed the experiences of with great though not complete frankness and conveyed disquieting views of the party and the political system. Intensely patriotic, these authors wrote cynically of the political leadership that gave rise to the extreme chaos and disorder of the Cultural Revolution. Many of these themes and attitudes were also found in of directors trained after 1978, many of which were based on published novels and short stories. Some of this fiction and cinema extended the blame to the entire generation of leaders and to the political system itself. The political authorities were faced with a serious problem: how could they encourage writers to criticize and discredit the abuses of the Cultural Revolution without allowing that criticism to go beyond what they considered tolerable limits?

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Considering how Heep's general lowness–his servilemanners, dropped aitches and so forth–has been rubbed inthroughout the book, there is not much doubt about the nature ofDickens's feelings. Heep, of course, is playing a villainous part,but even villains have sexual lives; it is the thought of the'pure' Agnes in bed with a man who drops his aitches that reallyrevolts Dickens. But his usual tendency is to treat a man in lovewith a woman who is 'above' him as a joke. It is one of the stockjokes of English literature, from Malvolio onwards. Guppy in BLEAKHOUSE is an example, John Chivery is another, and there is a ratherill-natured treatment of this theme in the 'swarry' in PICKWICKPAPERS. Here Dickens describes the Bath footmen as living a kind offantasy-life, holding dinner-parties in imitation of their'betters' and deluding themselves that their young mistresses arein love with them. This evidently strikes him as very comic. So itis in a way, though one might question whether it is not better fora footman even to have delusions of this kind than simply to accepthis status in the spirit of the catechism.

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Chinese myths, including Pangu and the Creation of the World

Of the above-mentioned nine cases, at least four have hadsuccessful novels based on them, one has been made into a popularmelodrama, and the amount of literature surrounding them, in theform of newspaper write-ups, criminological treatises andreminiscences by lawyers and police officers, would make aconsiderable library. It is difficult to believe that any recentEnglish crime will be remembered so long and so intimately, and notonly because the violence of external events has made murder seemunimportant, but because the prevalent type of crime seems to bechanging. The principal CAUSE CÉLÈBRE of the waryears was the so-called Cleft Chin Murder, which has now beenwritten up in a popular booklet; the verbatim account of the trialwas published some time last year by Messrs. Jarrolds with anintroduction by Mr. Bechhofer Roberts. Before returning to thispitiful and sordid case, which is only interesting from asociological and perhaps a legal point of view, let me try todefine what it is that the readers of Sunday papers mean when theysay fretfully that "you never seem to get a good murdernowadays".