This course presents the full sweep of classical Chinese literature from the Classic of Poetry (approximately 600 BC) through the nineteenth century. It highlights all major genres (poetry, classical prose, drama,
fiction, classical fiction) and uses a dynasty-by-dynasty approach to frame generic evolutions over time. Literary culture is understood in the context of other "high" cultural manifestations, such as painting,
and philosophy, but the primary emphasis is on literature, as understood during the dynasties under review. The canon of literary evolution is complicated by two other ways of thinking about traditional literature. The
first is writings by women, which parallel the canon but have not been studied seriously until very recent times. Reactions by women to their exclusion from "serious writing" is traced through their own surviving
many of which have been unearthed in the past decade. The second complication comes from the May Fourth Movement of 1919 and beyond, which sought to "overcome" or trivialize the great masterworks of the past and the
cultural" phenomenon as a whole.
This course welcomes several different kinds of students. The first is the East Asian Studies Major, who is looking for an introduction to traditional literature, albeit one that questions some traditional assumptions about this field. The second is the person of East Asian cultural heritage, who has heard of the great classics we will study but wants a way of systematizing them, or wants to know more about how they are studied outside East Asia. The third is the student who recognizes the importance China has played, is now playing, or is about to play in world culture and would like to know more about how its culture evolved.
COURSE FORMAT: Lecture/Discussion
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA AL&L Grading Mode: Graded
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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