Chinese Literature





Chinese Literature

Rolston and Lin emphatically assert that early Chinese literary pieces were written with punctuation marks as well as substantive comments along the margins in order to help the writer in understanding the subject matter. In fact, the essay points out that such a technique sort to illustrate the lexical and linguistic level of the text. As such, the essay details the differences between classical, fiction and informative commentaries whereby composition and style was the main form of their identification (Rolston and Lin 46). For example, the authors note that the transition from the Ming Dynasty marked the transformation of literature into the use of Confucian theories. While fictional commentaries were common, it is evident that the use of punctuation was a common sight, especially usage of circles and dots. Such a style was adopted in order to lay emphasis on specific texts. For example, transitional passages used open-centered commas as delightful parts used open centered circles. It is noteworthy too that the codes for such rules were contained “Fan-Li” novel.  

Punctuation control in these early times was seen as a way of enhancing understanding although it is clear that sometimes the texts of several novels were printed without them. It is the authors’ view that sometimes this was done in order to provide realism to the various depictions. The entry of western style literary formats is also described. Marking for excision was another reason for the graphical representation of views, especially those that were meant to show displeasure. For example, texts meant for deleting had these markings. The commentator therefore points out the positive as well as the negative aspects of the text. According to the authors, such people derived satisfaction from doing so. As such, the making of editorial changes was adopted as a way of creating superior material to the popular editions hence influencing the opinions of readers. It is however noteworthy that the placement of comments was reserved for the margins at the top of the page, between the text’s lines as a pinch and the last page of every chapter.

Commentaries are thus categorized into different levels. For example, marginal comments were placed right above the passage while interlineal comments followed a simple pattern of maintaining their short length due to their role of highlighting important sections of such texts. The essay further describes chapter comments as those located at the blank spaces at the end of each chapter although Rolston and Lin insinuate that double columns can be added to accommodate more opinions (Yao 29). Eighteenth century Chinese literature, especially the fictional genre was also laden with prefaces whereby the project’s history was retold while in other instances, a commentator’s opinion about the text was illustrated. Chin Sheng-tian’ features prominently throughout the essay as a leading commentator who incorporated different writing styles within his works. Notably, they too refer to the practice of commentators/editors explaining any unusual features or proclaiming their stand on certain issues as a standard feature of Chinese texts. The article therefore explores the various techniques of reading essays especially prefatory ones whereupon dialogue formats were common. The use of charts and lists is also identified as a means of aiding the reader to monitor the chronology of events while quotations from historical works were also employed to achieve this objective. It was common as well to keep lists of vocabularies and interesting sayings whereas variations in the styling of the table of comments were tolerated.

Works Cited

Rolston, David L, and Shuen-fu Lin. How to Read the Chinese Novel. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1990. Print.

Yao, Dan. Chinese Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Print.

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