Anthologies category and “Belles-lettres” (jibu 集部)

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The category of belles-lettres (jibu 集部) is the last of the four traditional categories (sibu 四部) into which Chinese literature was divided. It includes collected writings of one person (bieji 别集), as well as collections of literary types or anthologies of writings from one period of time (zongji 总集). The last section in this category is literary critique. The belles-lettres category generally includes all writings composed on a personal base covering the private sphere, like letters, but also types of literature written for entertainment and leasure-time, like poems or theatre plays. The compilers of the Siku quanshu 四库全书 divided the category of belles-lettres into the sections Poetry of the South (Chuci 楚辞), collected writings of individual authors (bieji), anthologies and collections (zongji), literary critique (shiwenping 诗文评), and arias (ciqu 词曲). In the jibu category, the Siku quanshu assembles 1,281 writings, which makes it the largest category among the four.

楚辞

Chuci

Poetry of the South

别集

Bieji

Individual belles-lettres

总集

Zongji

Collective belles-lettres

诗文评

Shiwenping

Critique on poetry and prose

词曲

Ciqu

Songs and arias

丛书*

Congshu

Collectanea

楚辞

Chuci

Poetry of the South

别集

Bieji

Individual belles-lettres

总集

Zongji

Collective belles-lettres

诗文评

Shiwenping

Critique on poetry and prose

词曲

Ciqu

Songs and arias

丛书*

Congshu

Collectanea

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