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Literary families and family literature of the Song Dynasty

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Families of literary fame in the Song Dynasty grew out of the economically or politically unprivileged or deprived families. Their ethical training by the family tradition made it a necessity for the literati to put moral integrity and ritual formality prior to everything else. Their education, which held book collecting and erudition in great importance, became resources that contributed a lot to the literary prosperity of the Song Dynasty. Both similarity and variation are found with the family literature of the Song Dynasty. Their similarity is reflected in the inheritance of and identification with the ancestral style of writing by later generations. But variation was also a norm, considering the difference of personal character and life experiences of a writer from those of his ancestors. Variation was also caused within familial literature by a liberal conception of literature and the freedom of writing at the time. In spite of that, the literature of different families had one thing in common—a great reverence for their ancestry and a sense of kinship.


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