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date: 19 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the various media by means of which literature was produced and disseminated prior to the spread of printing. It looks both at material media, such as bronze, bamboo, and paper, and at the use of oral and memorial transmission, which played crucial roles in the periods covered here as well. In addition to descriptions of how these media were produced and used, it discusses the impact that they had on conceptions of literary composition and transmission. It emphasizes that, in many contexts, literature was as likely to be heard as to be read and that writing was only one of the forms in which Classical Chinese literature existed for those who created and first experienced it.

Keywords: literary media, writing, orality, paper, bamboo, bronze inscriptions

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