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China has one of the longest continuous literary traditions in the world. From the beginnings of the Chinese written language to the lively world of internet literature, these two volumes tell the story of Chinese writing, both as an instrument of the state and as a medium for culture outside the state. The chapters, organized chronologically, treat not only poetry, drama, and fiction, but also historical writing and other prose forms. Written by internationally recognized experts in the field, the History frequently challenges current scholarship, from taking recent archeological discoveries into consideration to understanding Chinese modernity not as a sudden rupture with the past but as part of a longer process. The History offers both an integrated narrative, situating literature in its larger cultural context, and an overview of the key developments of the past millennia accessible to non-specialist readers as well as scholars and students of Chinese.