Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(3,951 words)

1. Traditional Literature

With the gradual spread of the use of script since the 2nd millennium BCE, a concept of literature established itself in the Chinese territories which soon became the foundation of Chinese identity. The numerous meanings of the term wen, which stands for "literature" as well as for "the orderly" or "the structured," and later also for "culture" in a broader sense, point to an entanglement of the concept of literature with a…

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Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig, “Literature”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 04 March 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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