Spring 2009

The Monkey, the Outlaws, and the Stone: The Novel in Pre-modern China

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-66


Paola Zamperini (Section 01)


(C) This course will be devoted to reading the English translations of the major Chinese novels, from the Ming dynasty Xiyouji (Journey to the West), to the Jin Ping Mei (The Plum in the Golden Vase), the Shui hu zhuan (The Water Margins), to the eighteenth-century novel Hongloumeng (The Dream of the Red Chamber). Due to the length of each individual text, only one major novel will be the focus of the course each time, though we will often include selections from other contemporary and related sources, when relevant to the overall understanding of the text under study. As we read through the novel selected for the semester together, uncovering its richness and complexity, we will in turn address issues such as the place of the novel in traditional Chinese literature; authorship and authority; narrative strategies and plot development; magic and religion; material culture and fashion; class and discrimination; health and disease; femininity, masculinity and their discontents. In addition to the primary source chosen for each semester, representative theoretical work in the field of pre-modern Chinese literature will be incorporated as much as possible. Spring semester. Professor Zamperini.