This book focuses on the representation of human mortality in early medieval Chinese literature. This theme is observed and reconstructed through the contextual and intertextual analysis of the work of eminent writers of the period, texts that have never been examined from an eschatological perspective. Through this perspective, and the careful use of research from the fields of religion and anthropology, the book offers a fresh view of commentator Wang Yi (fl. 89-158), well-known poets Ruan Ji (210-63), Tao Qian (365?-427), and Xie Lingyun (385-433), and also brings into the discussion relevant works by several previously neglected authors. The book contributes a new angle from which to appreciate literature of this and other periods in Chinese history.