Spring 2021

Chinese Literary Tradition, Antiquity to 1800

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-160


Lei Ying (Section 01)


A survey of the literary and intellectual traditions of premodern China, the course guides students to appreciate a broad array of textual records and literary genres from antiquity to late Imperial China. We will read monumental works such as Shang dynasty oracle-bone inscriptions, the Analects, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Tang and Song poetry, the folk opera Mulian Rescues his Mother, and the celebrated vernacular novel The Story of the Stone. The course explores the multiple dimensions of the practice of writing and hence reflects on where wen, or “literature,” stood in the premodern Chinese lifeworld. Moreover, the course draws on contemporary writings and films to examine the offshoot of the Chinese literary tradition that thrives in the popular culture of the English-speaking world.

No prior knowledge of Chinese language or culture is assumed. Requirements include in-class quizzes and writing assignments of various lengths throughout the semester. Two class meetings per week. Remote instruction primarily. In-person meetings may be arranged pending on circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Ying. 


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Writing, Online Only, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021