On the Literary Self-Consciousness of the Han, Wei, Jin, and Northern and Southern Dynasties
The period from the Qin dynasty 秦 (221-206 BC) through the Northern and Southern dynasties (420-589) was an important period for the burgeoning self-awareness and sophistication of Chinese literature. In this period literature gradually detached itself from the traditional fields of the learning of the Classics and historiography, so that the special characteristics of literature became evident. The major genres of Chinese literature were established, while literary groups, schools and styles were formed. Finally, literature achieved an independent status, and a solid foundation was established for the thriving literature of the Tang 唐 (618-907).