The Tongcheng School is the most distinguished among the mid-Qing Dynasty schools of literature. Its representative writers include Fang Bao, Liu Dakui and Yao Nai, who are all natives of Tongcheng County in Anhui province, hence the name Tongcheng School.
Fang Bao (1668-1749) carried on the tradition of Gui Youguang's works and made Yi Fa (Yi refers to the central ideas of an article; Fa, to literary forms and artistry) the basic theory of the Tongcheng School's writings.
Works created by the Tongcheng School stressed the elucidation of the article's purpose and didn't encourage loading the writings with fancy phrases; therefore their writings are concise and natural but lack animation. Major works of the Tongcheng School include Fang Bao's Prison Notes and Yao Nai's Ascent to Mount Tai.
The Tongcheng School was very influential in the literature circle of the Qing Dynasty. The school was prosperous from the reign of Emperor Kangxi to the end of the Qing Dynasty, and its influence went beyond Tongcheng County.
Besides Fang Bao, Liu Dakui and Yao Nai, major figures also included Fang Bao's pupils like Shen Tong, Wang Youpu, Shen Tingfang, Wang Zhaofu, Chen Dashou and Li Xueyu, Liu Dakui's pupils like Wang Zhuo, Wu Ding and Cheng Jinfang, and Yao Nai's pupils like Guan Tong, Men Cengliang, Fang Dongshu and Yao Ying. Followers of Mei Cengliang included Zhu Qi, Long Qirui, Chen Xueshou, Wu Jiabin, Deng Xianhe, Sun Dingchen, Lu Yitong and Shao Yichen.