16:217:520 History of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1300

Description: This seminar examines major Chinese works from the pre-Qin period to the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). The course will familiarize students with a wide variety of genres and themes as well as their historical contexts and developments. We will pay attention to the concept of “literature,” or wen. Was there a clear-cut definition of “literature” in pre-modern China? What could be considered a literary work at the time? And how do the readings constitute or defy our understanding of “literature” as shaped during the “modern” era? In class, we will tackle these issues. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions. No background in Chinese language or literature is required. Students with reading ability in classical Chinese can read the texts in the original.

Number of Credits: 

Prerequisites: None 

Semesters Offered: Fall

Expected Work: weekly responses, class presentations, seminar paper