Chinese Literary Tradition
This course, an introduction to the works of literature that formed the basis of traditional Chinese culture, is a discussion-based seminar. It focuses first on texts written in classical Chinese from the earliest times up through the Song dynasty, including selections from early poetry and history, Daoist classics, stories of the strange, and Tang Dynasty poetry by Wang Wei, Li Bai and Du Fu. These texts shaped the traditional Chinese understanding of the world, and provided models of what was perceived to be powerful, beautiful language. In the second part of the course we will explore narratives written in the vernacular language, focusing on the literary significance and aesthetic value of drama, stories and novels long treasured by the Chinese. Students will gain a better understanding of traditional Chinese literary values, as well as Chinese society and worldviews. This class is not intended for native Chinese students who have studied Chinese literature in high school classes in China. (No background in Chinese culture or language needed.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.