Chinese Literature in Transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Chinese Literature in Transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

1st Edition

By Donald Holzman


350 pages

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Hardback: 9780860786894
pub: 1998-03-26
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This volume aims to account for the tremendous changes in the attitudes towards the world and towards themselves that can be seen in the works of Chinese writers in the early centuries of the Christian era. How do the massive conversion of such a large part of the population to Buddhism and the widespread development of the Daoist religion correspond to the conversion of the West to Christianity? Does this conversion to new religions that were replacing the ancient imperial religions represent similar developments on the eastern and western fringes of the Old World? Can we speak with any confidence of the gradual evolution of China from an 'Antiquity' to a 'Middle Ages'? The author attempts to show that, in their attitudes towards literature and their appreciation of landscape, during the Han and the first four centuries of the Christian era, we can see signs of a turning inward and the birth of new forms of spirituality akin to those that arose in the West during the same period.


Joint review of Immortals, Festivals, and Poetry in Medieval China and Chinese Literature in Transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages 'For over forty years Donald Holzman has been a leading figure in the study of early medieval Chinese literature…A selection of his articles has now been brought together in two volumes from Ashgate’s ’Variorum’ series, which will greatly ease the library labours of students and scholars wishing to consult this or that article in journal, conference volume, or Festschrift…A third volume of new articles will soon need to be added to the two we have here. The Holzman Å“uvre is one of the most significant contributions to Sinology in the last half-century and it continues to grow.' Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 119, No. 3

Table of Contents

Contents: The conversational tradition in Chinese philosophy; Confucius and ancient Chinese literary criticism; Les premiers vers pentasyllabiques datés dans la poésie chinoise; On the authenticity of the tetrameter poetry attributed to Ruan Ji; Literary criticism in China in the early 3rd century AD; Landscape appreciation in ancient and early medieval China: the birth of landscape poetry; Addenda and corrigenda; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General