Chinese Literary Tradition

This course serves as an introduction to Chinese literary tradition that spans from the first millennium B.C. to 1911. Readings include the most beloved literary texts that unify Chinese civilization through its long history, such as Confucian and Daoist classics, historical narratives, tales of the strange, Tang Dynasty poetry, short stories, vernacular plays, and novels. The discussion-based seminar aims to explore how Chinese literature, seen as one of the three ways of achieving immortality along with virtue and deed, confirms social values or challenges them, and how it articulates the place of individual in a thoroughly Confucian and patriarchal society. While the emphasis is on traditional Chinese literature, we will also consider a wide range of modern cultural products, such as operas, films, and popular songs, to investigate how Chinese literary tradition has shaped Chinese people’s imagination and sensibilities, thus remaining relevant and significant in modern society. The course is taught in Chinese, with readings in both Chinese and English.

Cao Xiaoyin. Zhongguó Gudài Wénxuépin xuanzhù. Peiking University Press. ISBN 9788301053409
Language School
Requirements Fulfilled:


Summer 2011, LS 6 Week Session

CHNS6638A-L11 Lecture (Sun)