East Asian Languages and Cultures | Chinese Literature II in Translation
E332 | 15297 | Zou


TOPIC:  Forms, Sentiments, and History in Late Imperial and Modern
Chinese Literature

This course is the second semester in a year long sequence on the
history of Chinese literature in translation.  [Students are welcome
to take this course without having studied earlier literature in
E331.]  Students will be introduced to major authors, works, and
genres from the Yuan Dynasty to modern times.  We will explore how
literature negotiates its position in relation to important
political, ideological, social and cultural concerns in late
imperial and modern China.  The major questions we will pursue
include: how do we understand “vernacular” writing in terms of the
ways in which it engages the political and social realities of late
imperial China?  Why does a realistic tendency coexist with a
fascination with the fantastic in such writing?  Why is qing
(emotion) highlighted in Yuan, Ming, and Qing literature, and how is
it understood in relation to freedom, family and the country (the
Empire)?  How is literature redefined by colonial politics and
changing concepts of the nation, love, and the individual in late
Qing and May Fourth literature?  We will also explore models of
emotion and reality in revolutionary literature and post-Mao
writing.  Particularly, what do “revolutionary romanticism”
and “revolutionary realism” mean?  Where does “roots-seeking”
fiction search for “roots?”  Why is literature in the 1980s
fascinated with the absurd and the ugly?  Readings will include both
literary works in translation and critical writings on selected
topics in Chinese literary and cultural history.

Students will be expected to do extensive reading and actively
participate in class discussions.  There will be an analytical paper
(30%, 7-10 pages), a research project and in class presentation
(25%) and a final exam (30%).  Regular attendance, participation in
class discussions, and other small assignments will account for 15%
of the semester grade.