Shushi (literally, writing miscellanea), a form of narrative writing, emerged since the Tang and Song dynasties as a relatively independent genre affiliated to “titles and postscripts” and “miscellaneous writing.” It shared commonalities with miscellaneous notes and writings, as they all consisted of comments and critiques on events, with some precisely narrating about individuals and occurrences. The term shushi was influenced by conceptualizations in historical studies and the genre of “narrative poems.” During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the production of shushi flourished to the extent that it evolved into a distinct genre characterized by strong narrative elements. The majority of shushi writings focused on narrating about people and events. These writings began to increase in length, and their inclination toward depicting figures and selecting resources became akin to biographical genres. As one of the most adaptable genres in the Ji sector of classical writings, shushi had strong connection with miscellaneous writings that were “narrations about certain events.” In terms of meticulously recording individuals and engaging with fiction, it also shared many correlations with the fictional essays that originated in the Wei-Jin dynasties.


shushi, genre, origin, correlation

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