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The retrospective and prospective views on the compilations of dynastic complete works of literature

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At the end of the Ming dynasty the initiative was taken in the edition that collected together for complete works the total output of literature by period. The practice remained up to the Qing dynasty when there came out Quantangshi and Quantangwen, etc., and commanded popular attention in academic circles. And since modern times Chinese scholars have poured out tremendous enthusiasm for the compilation of such types of works especially for the last twenty years. The works, to their knowledge, have achieved more than forty types, which were published one after another or whose compilations are well under way. The range almost includes works of all genres composed in different historical period. Such publications in vast number are by no means certain to exert a dominant influence on the twenty-first century study of Chinese literature and history, and scholars should place the overwhelming importance on some common problems that have come up from such compilations.


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