Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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The "Four Book" and the "Five Classics" are the chief amongst the classical works of the Chinese. The Four Books consist of The Confucian Analects, The great Learning, The Doctrine of the mean,and The Works of Mencius. The Five Classics consist of The Book of Changes, The Book of History, The Book of Odes, The Book of Rites and The Spring and Autumn Annals. The last is the only one of which Confucius is actually the author, though he compiled The Book of History and The Odes. The Book of Changes is regarded with almost universal reverence, both on account of its antiquity, and also for the unfathomable wisdom which is supposed to be concealed under its mysterious symbols. The Four Books, which rank next after The Five Classics are composed, for the most part, of the words, conversations, and opinions of Confucius and Mencius, as recorded by their disciples.

Historical Annals - This class of histories contains a concise narrative of events on the plan of The Spring and Autumn Annals. Among the most celebrated of these is the Tsz Chi Tung Kin, of the famous historian Sima Guang, in 294 books,which occupied the author 19 years in writing.

Geographical and Topographical Works - Every small division of the empire has its topographical work dealing with its own history, antiquities, towns,curiosities, and anything of interest connected with it.

Other literature includes astronomy, mathematics, essays, Buddhist literature, Taoist literature, Belles letters, rhymes and songs, drama, etc.

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