The Warrior, the Courtesan and the Ghost in Classical Chinese Novels (3) This course provides an introduction to major classical Chinese novels by focusing on three character types: the warrior, the courtesan, and the ghost.
CHNS 423 The Warrior, the Courtesan and the Ghost in Classical Chinese Novels (3)
A narrowly defined notion of modern literature is a relatively recent phenomenon that dates back only to the early twentieth century in the Chinese context. There is, however, a long tradition of the vernacular novel that remains influential till today, in spite of its marginalization by the Western-influenced Chinese Enlightenment project. This course provides an introduction to major classical Chinese novels by focusing on three character types: the warrior, the courtesan, and the ghost. The warrior is commonly found in historical romances, tales about errant knights and assassins, and martial arts fiction. Although the typical setting for the courtesan is in novels about prostitution (Xia Xie Xiaoshuo), this course will relate this figure to other female types in various domestic space, thereby tracing the genealogical connections between the domestic fiction and the courtesan fiction. The ghost can be found in Accounts of the Strange (Zhi Guai) and Tales of the Miraculous (Chuan Qi). This course will relate this figure in these narrative genres with other types of the supernatural being, such as Gods and Demons. Most readings will be drawn from the Mind-Qing period (14th -20th c) but modern and contemporary literature as well as visual or media culture that consciously continue or rewrite these narrative traditions will be considered as well. All readings and class discussions will be in English. Knowledge of Chinese or Chinese literature is not assumed or required.
From year to year the content we cover might change, but this course will always explore:
1) Major classical Chinese narrative traditions that are radically different from the Western-influenced narrative modes of the twentieth century.
2) Pre-modern practices of literary reading and criticism and pre-modern notions of literacy, literature, and modes of circulation.
Course Objectives include:
1. Critically analyze major texts and genres of the classical Chinese novel.
2. Understand pre-modern practices of story-telling, literary circulation, reading, and criticism.
3. Think critically about pre-modern societies and their connections with the contemporary world.
General Education: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2012
Prerequisite: 3 credits in literature or other fields relevant to this course
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.