This is a broad introduction to traditional Chinese literature in English translation, covering major works and writings from the period between the sixth century BC and the end of the eighteenth century AD. We will read widely in the main classical genres, with selections to be drawn from lyric poetry (shi), rhapsody (fu), and historical prose. There will be some attention to historical, intellectual, and other cultural contexts, particularly as it helps us to understand the formation of the literary tradition.
As all readings are done in translation, no previous knowledge of Chinese culture or language is assumed. However, students will be expected to become familiar with pinyin romanization and to learn the names of the dynasties covered in the course.