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Shaping of fiction studies in the pre-Tang period

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

The paper examines the evolutionary process of xiaoshuoxue 小说学, or Fiction Studies, in the pre-Tang period, and its ideological and cultural backgrounds. It holds that Xiaoshuoxue has developed its most important concepts by adopting the ideologies of traditional Chinese philosophy and historical science. The most important of them are xiaodao keguan 小道可观 (minor Tao has its values), cheng’e quanshan 惩恶劝善 (to punish the evil and to encourage the good), and chuanwen yici 传闻异辞 (hearsays with different versions). And fiction writers in the Six Dynasties made their contributions by summarizing the main characteristics of fiction as recording “hearsays”, seeking for “wonders” and satisfying both eyes and minds, which laid a foundation for later xiaoshuoxue and had far-reaching influences over the creation of fiction creation.


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