A Brief History of Chinese Literature

by Piero Scaruffi (E-mail)
Main Literary page | Ancient Literature | Modern Literature | Best Chinese novels
Chinese Classics
Did I miss any of the masterpieces? Did I miss any of the great writers? Send me your comments
TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
The dates of ancient works are obviously wildly approximate.
See Steve Moore: "The Novel" for synopses of the ancient narratives.

"Yijing/ I Ching/ Book of Changes" (9## BC)
"Shijing/ Shih Ching/ Book of Odes/Songs" (China, 9## BC) [p]
"Shujing/ Shu Ching/ Book of History" (China, 9## BC)
Sun Tzu (China, 5## BC): "The Art of War" (5##) [h]
Confucius (China, 5##): "Lun Yu/ Analects, first classic of Confucianism" (4##) [h]
Laozi/ Lao Tzu (China, 5## BC): "Dao-te Ching/ The Virtue of the Way, first classic of Daoism" (4##) [h]
Sima Qian/ Ssu-ma Ch'ien (China, 4##): "Shih Chi/ Records of the Grand Historian" (4## BC) [h]
Mengzi/Mencius (China, 371 BC): "Mengzi/ Mencius, fourth classic of Confucianism" (3##) [h]
Qu/Chu Yuan (China, 340 BC): "Chu Ci/ Songs of Chu" (3## BC) [p]
Qu/Chu Yuan (China, 340 BC): "Li Sao" (3## BC) [p] +
Qu/Chu Yuan (China, 340 BC): "Elegies of Chiu Tzu I: Encountering Sorrow" (3## BC) [p]
Song Yu (China, 3## BC): "Chu Ci/ Songs of Chu" (3## BC) [p]
Zhuangzi/ Chuang Tzu "Zuangzi/ Chuang Tzu", second classic of Daoism (China, 33# BC) [h]
"Zuo Zhuan/ Tso Chuan/ History of Tso" (China, 2##) [h]
"Kung-yang Chuan/ History of Kung-yang" (China, 2##) [h]
Sung Yu (China, 2## BC): "Elegies of Chiu Tzu: Nine Arguments" (2## BC) [p]
"Daxue/ Great Learning", second classic of Confucianism (China, 2## BC) [h]
"Zhongyong/ Doctrine of the Mean", third classic of Confucianism (China, 2## BC) [h]
Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (China, 179 BC): "Poems from the Han Shu" (1## BC) [p]
Mei Ch'eng (China, 1## BC): "Poems from the Han Shu" (1## BC) [p]
"Elegies of Chiu Tzu" (China, 1## BC) [p]
Jiao Yanshou/ Jiao Shi (China, ## BC): "Yi Lin/ Forest of Changes" (25 BC) [p]
"Zhan Guo Ce/ Chan-kuo Tse" (China, 8# AD) [h]
"Liezi/ Lieh-tzu, third classic of Daoism" (30# AD) [h]
Tsao Tsao (China, 155): "Poems" (220) [p]
Gan Bao/ Kan Pao (China, 2##): "Sou-shen Chi/ The Girl-Eating Serpent" (31#)
Tao Chien/Tao Qian/ Tao Yuan-ming (China, 365): "Taohua Yuan Ji / Peach Blossom Spring" (4##)
Tao Chien/Tao Qian/ Tao Yuan-ming (China, 365): "Poems" (427) [p]
Chang Wen-cheng/Zhang Zhuo (China, 65#): "You Xianku/ The Dwelling of Playful Goddesses" (67#)
Wang Wei (China, 699): "Landscape Poems" (7##) [p] +
Li Bai/Li Tai Pe/ Li Po (China, 701): "Poems" (7##) [p] +
Du Fu/ Tu Fu (China, 712): "Poems" (7##) [p] +
Han Yu (China, 768): "Poems" (824) [p]
Po Chu-i/ Bai Juyi (China, 772): "Poems" (8##) [p]
Liu Zongyuan/ Liu Tsung-yuan (China, 773): "Poems" (819) [p]
Li Shang-yin (China, 813): "Poems" (8##) [p]
Li Fu-yen (China, 83#): "Tales" (8##)
Wei Chuang (China, 836): "Poems" (910) [p]
Yu Xuanji/ Yu Hsuan-chi (China, 844): "Poems" (8##) [p]
Li Yu/ Hou Chu (China, 937): "Poems" (978) [p]
Ou Yangsu/ Ouyang Hsiu (China, 1007): "Zuiweng Tingji/ Regarding the Pavilion of The Old Drunkard" (10##) [h]
Ssu-ma Kuang (China, 1019): "Tzu-chih T'ung-chien/ Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government" (10##) [h]
Wang Anshih (China, 1021): "Shi Poems" (1086) [p]
Su Shih/ Tung-po/ Su Dongpo (China, 1036): "Tzu Poems" (1101) [p]
Li ChingChao (China, 1081): "Poems" (1149) [p] +
Zeng Gong (China, 1019): "Poems" (1083) [p]
Cheng Chiao (China, 1104): "Shih-tung" (11##) [h]
Zhu Xi/ Chu Hsi (China, 1130): "Essays" (11##) [h]
Wang Shih-Fu (China, 1206): "Hsi-hsiang Chi/ The Romance of the West Chamber" (12##) [t] +
Ma Chih-yuan (China, 127#): "Huangliang Meng/ The Yellow-millet Dream" (13##) [t]
Ma Chih-yuan (China, 127#): "Han Kung Chiu/ Autumn in the Palace of the Han" (129#) [t] +
Shih-Naian (China, 129#): "Shuihu Zhuan/ Shui-hu chuan/ Water Margin/ All Men Are Brothers/ Rebels of the Marsh" (13##) +
Kao Ming (China, 13##): P'i-p'a chi" (13##) [t]
Song Lian (China, 1310): "Guwen Prose" (1381) [h]
Lo Kuan-chung/ Luo Guanzhong (China, 1330): "San-kuo chih yen-i/ Sanguo Yamyi/ Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (137#) +
Gao Qi (China, 1336): "Poems" (1374) [p] +
Wu Chengen (China, 1506): "Xiyou Ji/ Hsi-yu chi/ Journey to the West" (15##) +
"Luo Maodeng (CHina, 15##): "Xiyangji/ Adventures in the Western Ocean" (159#)
"Ruyijun Zhuan/ Lord of Perfect Satisfaction" (152#)
Liang Chenyu (China, 1519): "Huanshaji/ Washing the Silken Gauze" (15##) [t]
Wang Shih-chen (China, 1526): "Poems" (1590) [p]
Xu Zhonglin (China, 15##): "Fengshen Yanyi/ The Creation of the Gods" (155#) +
Tu Long (China, 1542): "Tan Hua Ji/ The Story of Udumbara" (15##) [t]
Tang Hsien Tzu/ Xianzu (China, 1550): "Ma-tan ting/ Peony Pavilion" (1588) [t] +
Lanling Xiaoxiaosheng or Tang Hsein-tsu (China, 1550): "Chin Ping Mei/ Jin Ping Mei/ Golden Lotus/ The Plum in the Golden Vase" (159#) +
Yuan Hongdao/ Yuan Hung-tao (China, 1568): "Poems" (1610) [p]
Feng Meng-lung (China, 1574): "San Yan" (16##)
Wen Zhenheng (China, 1585): "Zhang Wu Zhi/ Treatise on Superfluous Things" (1627) [h]
Zhang Dai/Chang Tai (China, 1597):"Tao An Meng Yi/ Taoan Mengi/ Reminiscences in Dreams of Tao An" (166#) [h]
Li Yu/ Li Liweng (China, 1610): "Rou Putuan/ The Carnal Prayer Mat" (1657)
Mao Hsiang/Xiang (China, 1611): "Yingmeian Iyu/ Reminiscences" (16##) [h]
Yu Huai (China, 1616): "Banqiao Zaji/ Miscellaneous Records of Banqiao" (16##) [h]
Pu Songling/ Sung-ling (China, 1640): "Liao-chai Chih-i/ Strange Stories from an Eccentric's Studio" (171#)
Hung Sheng (China, 1645): "Ch'ang-sheng Tien/ The Palace of Eternal Youth" (16##) [t]
Fang Pao (China, 1668): "Essays" (1749) [h]
Xi Zhou Sheng (China, 16##): "Xing Shi Yin Yuan Zhuan/ The Story of a Marital Fate to Awaken the World" (17##)
Kong Shangren/ Kung Shan-jen/ Kung Shang-Ren (China, 1648): "Tao-hua Shan/ Peach Blossom Fan" (17##) [t] +
Wu Jingzi/ Wu Ching-tzu (China, 1701): "Ju-lin Wai-shi/ The Scholars" (174#)
Cao Xueqin/ Tsao Chan (China, 171#): "Hong-lou Meng/ The Dream of the Red Chamber/ Story of the Stone/ Chronicles of the Stone" (China, 17##) ++
Yuang Mei (China, 1716): "Poems" (1797) [p]
Shen Fu (China, 1763): "Fu-sheng Liu-chi/ Six Records of a Floating Life" (18##)
Li Juchen (China, 1763): "Ching-hua Yuan/ Jinghuayuan/ Flowers in the Mirror" (1828)
Han Bangqing (China, 1856): "The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai" (1892)
Liu E/O (China, 1857): "Lao Tsan Yu-chi/ The Travels of Lao Tsan" (1906)
Wu Wo-yao (China, 1867): "Chiu-ming Chi-yuan/Jiuming qiyuan/ A Strange Case of Nine Murders" (190#)
Wu Wo-yao (China, 1867): "Ershinian Mudu Zhi Guai Xianzhuang/ Bizarre Happenings Eyewitnessed In Two Decades" (190#)
Lu Hsun/Xun (China, 1881): "Kuangjen Jih-chi/ Diary of a Madman" (1918)
Lu Hsun/Xun (China, 1881): "Yao/ Medicine" (1919)
Lu Hsun/Xun (China, 1881): "A Q Zhengzhuan/ The True Story of Ah Q" (1921) +
Lu Hsun/Xun (China, 1881): "Ku-hsiang/ Native Village" (1923)
Lu Hsun/Xun (China, 1881): "Panghuang/ Wandering" (1926)
Lu Hsun/Xun (China, 1881): "Gushi Xinbian/ Old Tales Retold" (1935)
Su Manshu (China, 1884): "Duan Hong Ling Yan Ji/ The Lone Swan" (1924)
Hu Shih (China, 1891): "Chung-shen Ta-shih" (1919) [t]
Guo Moruo/ Kuo Mo Jo (China, 1892): "The Goddesses" (1921) [p]
Ye Shengtao (China, 1894): "Ni Huanzhi/ The Name of the Character" (1928)
Mao Dun/Tun (China, 1896): "Shi/ Eclipse" (1928)
Mao Dun/Tun (China, 1896): "Hong/ Rainbow" (1929)
Mao Dun/Tun (China, 1896): "Ziye/ Midnight" (1933) +
Xu Zhimo/ Hsu Chih-mo (China, 1896): "Poems" (1931) [p]
Yu Dafu/ Yu Ta-fu (China, 1896): "Chen-lun/ Sinking" (1921)
Wen Yiduo/ Wen I-tuo (China, 1898): "Ssu Shui/ Dead Water" (1928) [p]
Zhu Ziqing (China, 1898): "Huimie/ Destruction" (19##) [p]
Lao She (China, 1899): "Luotuo Xiangzi/ Camel Xiangzi/ Rickshaw Boy" (1937) +
Lao She (China, 1899): "Cat Country" (1932)
Lao She (China, 1899): "Teahouse" (1957) [t]
Bing Xin/ Ping-hsin (China, 1900): "Chunshui/ Spring Water" (1923) [p]
Bing Xin/ Ping-hsin (China, 1900): "Liu-i Chieh" (1924)
Shen Congwen (China, 1902): "Ch'ang Ho/ The Long River" (194#)
Youstol Dispage (1903): "Piero Scaruffi" (1939) [p]
Ba Jin/ Li Yaotang/ Pa Chin (China, 1904): "Jia/ Family" (1931) +
Ba Jin/ Li Yaotang/ Pa Chin (China, 1904): "Qiu/ Autumn" (1940)
Ba Jin/ Li Yaotang/ Pa Chin (China, 1904): "Bitter Cold Nights" (1947)
Ting/Ding Ling (China, 1904): "Sha-fei Nu-shih Ti Jih-chi/ The Diary of Miss Sophie" (1927)
Ting/Ding Ling (China, 1904): "T'ai Yang Chao Tsai Shanggan Ho Shang/ The Sun Shines on the Shanggan River" (1948) +
Zhao Shuli/ Chao Shu-li (China, 1905): "San-li Wan" (1955)
Cao Yu/ Tsao Yu (China, 1910): "Leiyu/ Thunderstorm" (1933) [t] +
Cao Yu/ Tsao Yu (China, 1910): "Richu/ Sunrise" (1936) [t]
Cao Yu/ Tsao Yu (China, 1910): "Beijing Ren/ Peking Man" (1940) [t] +
Qian Zhongshu (China, 1910): "Wei Cheng/ Fortress Besieged" (1947)
Zhang Naiying/ Xiao Hong (China, 1911): "Sheng si Chang/ The Field of Life and Death" (1935)
Zhang Naiying/ Xiao Hong (China, 1911): "Hulanhe Zhuan/ Tales of the Hulan River" (1942)
He Qifang (China, 1912): "Poems" (1977) [p]
Liu Baiyu/ Liu Pai-yu (China, 1915): "Di er ge tai yang" (1987)
Lin Haiyin (China, 1918): "Chengnan Jiushi/ My Memories of Old Beijing" (1960)
Eileen Chang (China, 1920): "Qing Cheng Zhi Lian" (1984)
Po Yang (China, 1920): "Ch'ou Lou Ti Chung-kuo Jen/ The Ugly Chinaman" (1992) [h]
Li Chi (China, 1921): "Wang Kuei Yu Li Hsiang-hsiang" (1944)
Louis Cha/ Zha Liangyong/ Jinyong (China, 1924): "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" (1957)
Hualing Nieh (China, 1925): "Sang Ch'ing Yu T'ao Hung/ Mulberry and Peach" (1981)
Wang Meng (China, 1934): "Tsu Chih Pu Hsin Lai Ti Nien Ch'ing Jen/ A Young Man Arrives at the Organization Department" (1956)
Zhang Xianliang/ Chang Hsien-liang (China, 1936): "Nanren de Yiban Shi Nuren/ Half of Man is Woman" (1985)
Bai Xianyong/ Pai Hsien-yung (China, 1937): "Jin Daban de zuihou yi ye/ The Last Night of Jin Daban" (198#)
Bai Xianyong/ Pai Hsien-yung (China, 1937): "Taipei Jen/ Taibei Ren" (1971)
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "Signal Alarm" (1982) [t] +
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "Bus Stop" (1983) [t] +
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "Wild Man" (1985) [t]
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "A Pigeon Called Red Beak" (1985)
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "The Other Shore" (1986) [t]
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "Soul Mountain" (1989) ++
Gao Xingjian/Xingjian (China, 1940): "Fugitives" (1990) [t]
Feng Jicai (China, 1942): "Three Inch Golden Lotus" (1985)
Liu Hsin Wu (China, 1942): "The Main Professor" (1977)
Bei Dao (China, 1949): "Notes From the City of the Sun" (1983)
Bei Dao (China, 1949): "Waves" (1987)
Bei Dao (China, 1949): "The August Sleepwalker" (1988)
Bei Dao (China, 1949): "Forms of Distance" (1994)
Jia Pingwa (China, 1953): "The Turbulence" (1991)
Jia Pingwa (China, 1953): "Fei Du/ The Ruined Capital" (1993)
Stan Lai (China, 1954): "That Evening We Performed Crosstalk" (1985) [t]
Stan Lai (China, 1954): "Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land" (1986) [t] +
Stan Lai (China, 1954): "A Dream Like A Dream" (2000) [t] ++
Stan Lai (China, 1954): "The Village" (2008) [t]
Mo Yan (China, 1955): "Honggaoliang Jiazu/ Red Sorghum" (1986) +
Mo Yan (China, 1955): "Big Breasts and Wide Hips" (1996) +
Mo Yan (China, 1955): "Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out" (2008)
Tie Ning (China, 1957): "The Red Shirt Without Buttons" (1984)
Wang Shuo (China, 1958): "Playing for Thrills" (1989)
Yu Hua (China, 1960): "To Live" (1992)
Yu Hua (China, 1960): "Chronicle of a Blood Merchant" (1995)
Su Tong (China, 1963): "Rice" (1995)
Su Tong (China, 1963): "Wives and Concubines" (1990) +
Mai Jia/ Jiang Benhu (China, 1964): "Jiemi/ Decoded" (2002) +
Birth dates unknown (contact me if you know them):

Lao Gui/ Ma Bo (China, ??????????????): "Xuese Huanghun/ Blood Red Dusk" (1987)
TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.