Literature from the late Jin to the early Ming: Ca 1230–ca 1375

Stephen West

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Overview. China under the Mongols was a time of paradox: the Yuan had the shortest span of any major dynasty, yet the reach of its territory was the most extensive. It was diverse and multiethnic yet was a time in which many peoples were united in a single linguistic-cultural realm. It is also an era the scholarship of which owes much to an interest spawned outside of China by the Mongols- globalized reach. It witnessed the spread of literature in Chinese as far as Samarkand and Uzbekistan; its producers were Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Chinese, Uighurs, Koreans, and Kazakhs. Whether one calculates the time span of Yuan literature 134 years backwards from its demise in 1368 to the time the Mongols snuffed out the Jin (1234), 107 years to the establishment of the Great Yuan dynasty by Khubilai Khan (1261), or 92 years to its destruction of the Southern Song (1276), it was short-lived. But such neat political divisions, datable to exact symbolic or real moments in the flow of time, obscure the tenacious knit of culture-s web, which loosens only through duration of change, reforming and reshaping culture-s pattern in small but important ways. While the Yuan-s political policies actually did create a significant break in literary continuity and an immediate and recognizable change in the whole cloth of Chinese literature, the dynasty was so short that many of these changes are visible only retrospectively as they unfold more elaborately in later times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Chinese Literature
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages94
ISBN (Electronic)9781139095419
ISBN (Print)9780521855587
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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