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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Travel Guide  »  Chinese Culture  »  Chinese Literatures  »  
Fiction of the Ming and Qing Dynasty

Ming and Qing is a prosperity period of Chinese fiction in the history and it is a treasure in Chinese culture. From the Ming Dynasty, this form of literary fiction shows its full role in society and literary value, breaking the monopoly of orthodox poems in literary history, achieved parallel position with Tang Poetry, Song Ci and Yuan Drama. Qing dynasty is a turning period for fictions in China as Chinese classic novels turns from boom-bust period to modern fictions. In the Southern and Northern Dynasties, novels began to take shape which described fantastic people and story, to prepare the conditions for the prosperity of the Ming and Qing novels. In Yuan and Ming Dynasties, on the basis of the words, resulting in a long chapter in the novels including “Romance of the Three Kingdoms ", "Water Margin", "Journey to the West", etc. The “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is the folklore story of the Three Kingdoms written by Luo Guanzhong.

The novel is accompanied by economic prosperity of the city's business and development. Handicraft and commercial development around the Song Dynasty brought prosperity to the development of the city and provided places and audience for folk arts, not expanding the public demand for cultural and entertainment sectors but also greatly stimulate this development, resulting in a new Vernacular literary style. The speaker's words are used originally, include historical tales, novels and complicated legal case. These words began to take shape and with the combination of new creation, they gradually matured. Development of economies and the printing industry of the Ming Dynasty provided the material conditions for the creation of novel getting rid of oral folk and turning into the literary creation in writing. In Mid-Ming Dynasty, vernacular literary fiction stepped onto the formal board as a mature literary style.

The Classification of Ming and Qing Fiction
Fictions written by literati in Ming Dynasty can be divided mainly into two categories: short vernacular fictions and full-length novels.

Full-length novels in Ming Dynasty in terms of topics and thoughts can be divided into five categories: historical novels, novels of gods and spirits, realistic novels, heroic legend novels and detective-style fiction.

Historical Novels
It is evolved from historical tales of talking history in the Song and Yuan Dynasties. Historical Novels are based on the historical facts of each dynasty, draw the contents of unofficial miscellaneous folklore and expand form that. “Seventy percent is fact and thirty percent is fabrication” is its own characteristics. Luo Guanzhong's "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" written in the late Yuan Dynasty and Early Ming Dynasty is the most typical historical romance novels. It is also China's first historical romance novel, represents the brilliant achievements of historical novels.

Novels of God and Spirits
This kind of novels are influenced by religions to some degree while its contents involve gods and spirits, full of fantastic imagination. “Journey to the West” written by Wu Cheng’en is the most excellent novel of god and spirits. “Journey to the West” is also written on the basis of talking arts in Song and Yuan Dynasties and folk legends. In addition, the Investiture of the Gods written by Xu Zhonglin also has great impacts on Ming and Qing Fictions.

Realistic Novels
This kind of novel is on the basis of social and real life, especially family life which portrays various kind of worldly feelings. "Golden Lotus" is China's first independent creation of novel, it began to emerge from the bondage of historical stories and historical novels legends, steered realistic themes, began to make detailed descriptions of everyday life, which has significance in the history of the development of Chinese fiction.

Heroic Legend Novels
It was developed on the basis of historical tales. The difference of heroic legend novels and historical novels is that it didn’t stick to the evolution of historical events of each dynasties. It mainly describes fictive heroic figures so as to entrust their dissatisfaction of their lives. “Water Margin” written by Shi Nai’an is its representative work which marks the maturation of Chinese classical novels realic art.

Detective-style Fiction
Detective-style fiction rise in the late Ming Dynasty whose theme is unjust verdict lawsuit is a reflection of dark society and social corruption. Detective-style fiction usually pursued bizarre twists and turns of the story and paid less attention to the illustration of figures’ characteristics. So it seemed to be rough artistic.

Fictions in Qing Dynasty
Class contradictions, ethnic conflicts and ideological and cultural fields in the struggle of the Qing Dynasty provided novels with a profound impact. Form the early Dynasty to Qing Dynasty Qianlong period was the heyday of the novel development with those quantity and quality, content and their form, style and genre compared with the previous generation have a greater development. Fictions in Qing Dynasty were basically written by literati, although there were some historical reference, the works were drawn from real life, more fully reflected the author's personal preference in the structure or narrative and descriptive aspects of the characters. The Classic Ghost Story and Dream of Red Mansions produced in Qianlong period respectively put the creation of classical and vernacular fiction novels to the peak.

Add on: The Book of Songs
               The Song of Chu
               Tang Poetry
               Song Poems
               Opera of the Yuan Dynasty



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