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British Library adds Chinese online novels to collection

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-17 14:54
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My Heroic Husband. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Recently, 16 Chinese online novels have been added to the collection of the British Library, including My Heroic Husband, Up in the Heaven, The Era of the Earth, The First Order, Great Doctor Ling Ran, The Wisdom of Great Song Dynasty and Great Power, Heavy Industry. Covering themes of science fiction, history, reality and fantasy, these works are considered the classics of Chinese online literature from the past 20 years.

One of the largest research libraries in the world, the British Library houses more than 170 million items, including the cultural relics of different civilizations from throughout history.

The library usually selects works based on their popularity or by considering an item's value. Readers can check the information about the 16 books on the library's website, and borrow printed copies.

As one of the current pillars of mass cultural consumption, which began with "fastfood" romances, fantasies and mysteries (enjoyable to consume, but not intellectually nutritious), the Chinese online literature industry has quickly matured during its fast development over the last two decades.

In recent years, it has received increasing acknowledgement from home and abroad. In 2019, 10 online novels, including Great Power, Heavy Industry, were added to the collection of the Shanghai Library, and between 2020 and 2022, 144 online novels like Battle Through the Heavens and Lord of Mysteries were entered into the collection of the National Library of China.

One of the 16 novels, Zhang Huan (Happiness in Palm) by Dongtiandeliuye (online pen name) tells a story about love and gourmet food in ancient times. The author created a representative female protagonist who was tough and intelligent, facing up to hardships with courage, perseverance and optimism.

"I hope through this novel, overseas readers can get a glimpse of the power and beauty of Chinese women, and can experience the charm of Chinese food culture," the writer says.

"It's a surprise to me that online fiction can be added to the collection of a foreign library. When my novel entered the collection of the National Library of China, I was very happy. It's a milestone for my creation. Today, when I heard the British Library is collecting Chinese online literature, I'm happy for online literature. It feels like the path of online novel writing is becoming ever wider," she adds.

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