Origins of Literature in Ancient India and Ancient China Essay examples

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In The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Indian and Chinese ancient histories are shown to share several distinct similarities. "As in China... civilization in India appears to have begun in a river valley" (881). Both regions span a diverse ethnic population who are unified by the idea of a shared heritage. Each domain was influenced by the idea of a code of conduct. However similar on the surface, a notable difference is the way literature manifested itself in India and China during ancient times. "The Chinese tradition begins with lyric poetry" (812). In India, religious hymns formed the basis of the first writings, but the Mystic Doctrines are evidence that prose dialogues were the favored form of literary expression (882). …show more content…
Indeed, many great civilizations have originated near rivers and a varied populace is drawn together as a result.

A diverse group of peoples have been bound together throughout history by a shared heritage. In China, the ideologies of Confucius "became interwoven with the ideology of the imperial state" (820). Confucius' teachings were carried on by his many disciples and were ultimately institutionalized by the Han dynasty (807). Hsun-tzu later viewed "Confucian ethics as a means to govern the human creature" (807). Confucius' collection of lyrical poetry called the Classics of Poetry

...served as the basic educational text of the Chou upper class. As the various Chou domains gradually evolved into independent states, the Classics of Poetry represented their common Chou heritage (812).

In India, a different series of events unified people. Sanskrit became the dominant form of written language for "classical literature, administration, and all forms of intellectual endeavor " (881). A series of conquering Muslim dynasties brought to Indian literature, "the sensibility of Islam but also the heritage of Arabic and Persian languages" (881). This series of influences united different people by providing a common structure for communication, thought and historical identity. This same action can be seen today in Java, Thailand and Malaysia (883).

The idea of a code of conduct further unites the members of each society. In China,

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