Tianxi Zheng


In the mid-Ming dynasty, when the idea of reviving the ancient was prominent, there were very few anthologies of the Qin' and Han' Dynasty prose until the Wanli Reign in the Ming Dynasty. This mismatch has long been unduly overlooked. The ancient-revival school held high the Qin' and Han' Dynasty style and thought, as they were closely related to the preparation of the imperial examination. Anthologies of the Qin' and Han' Dynasty prose and the imperial examination experienced a transformative process from mutually opposing each other to closely intersecting with each other. The responsibilities of “the orthodox style” and the realistic needs of the examiners were combined to require of the anthologies to perform varied functions, with a resulting transformation from the revering the ancient to valuing the writing.. The perception of the Qin-Han literary writing in the anthologies provides a good window for us to investigate how the literary thoughts of the elite filtered through the imperial examination preparation and how they were presented differently and how their functions transformed. The paper argues that a diachronic study on the evolution of the literary concept behind anthologization and the functional transformation, with a focus on the anthologies with family resemblance, may break through the limitations of case studies, and cast light on the significant of ancient anthologies for the intellectual history.


Qin-Han prose, anthology, imperial examination, “ revering the ancient”, “valuing the writing”

First Page


Last Page