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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

How do the moments that comprise a human life appear through the kaleidoscopic lens of China’s changing modes of literary expression? Many of the writings we have in our possession evince a profound sense of “timeliness”: an awareness of how life events may or may not correspond with the larger, and doubtless much more impersonal, processes of cosmic, historical, or physiological change. Beginning with some of the foundational philosophical texts of the pre-Qin period and proceeding through a range of genres, including biographies, essays, poems, and stories, this chapter will follow the natural arc of a human life—from infancy, through adulthood, old age and death—to consider some of the ways in which writers emerge from, live in, shape, conceptualize, and resist the workings of time upon human life.

Keywords: timeliness, biography, childhood, old age, death, pre-Qin, Six Dynasties, Tang

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