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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

“Literature” is a discursive field that is bounded by other discursive fields that are “not literature.” Reflection on that field as such can be traced to the early second century ce under the category wen. Wen was a much older and broader category that characterized certain qualities in a text, a person, or even the condition of an age. Critical reflection on wen was sustained for about four centuries, but the elusiveness of the term blurred the bibliographical category. Gradually, in the eighth and ninth centuries, critical discourse shifted to the large genre categories, to poetry and to wen redefined as “prose.”

Keywords: literature, wen, collections (ji), genre

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