This course is a survey of the classical Chinese literature from ancient time to the fall of Qing Dynasty (1911). Starting with Classic of Odes (shih ching), the most ancient anthology of Chinese poetry which includes 305 poems, the classical Chinese literature bases its development on the features of a language characteristic of ideography, a philosophy combining Confucianism with Taoism and Buddhism, and a history based on centralized imperial reign and literati officialdom, as well as small scale peasant economy. The classical Chinese literature developed different forms and genres during its long history, e.g. classical poetry, lyric, aria, elegy, rhapsody, folk song, narrative verse, parallel prose, classical-language short story, vernacular short story, novel, drama, etc. Through a close study of the important classical Chinese literary works, represented by famous poets and writers such as Ch’ü Yüan, Li Po, Tu Fu, Po Chü-yi, Su Shih, Yüan Chen, Feng Meng-lung, Lo Kuan-chung, Shih Nai-an, Wu Cheng’en, Ts’ao Hsüeh-ch’in, Kuan Han-ch’ing, T’ang Hsien- tsu, etc., students will be able to explore their own ideas of what the wide variety of the classical Chinese literature is like, as well as, to understand the traditional Chinese culture, especially the particular philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, and mentality of the Chinese, contained in the classics. They will also find out the different styles and artistic ways used by the poets and writers in their literary creation.
Lectures, readings, paper assignments, and discussions are designed to help you develop the skills to: