Chinese Literature
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Hiina kirjandus
Course title in English
Chinese Literature
ECTS credits
Assessment form
lecturer of 2023/2024 Spring semester
Lisa Indraccolo (language of instruction:English)
lecturer of 2024/2025 Autumn semester
Not opened for teaching. Click the study programme link below to see the nominal division schedule.
Course aims
Aim of the course is to provide students with an exhaustive, comprehensive overview of the development of the main genres of Chinese literature across the ages. Students will acquire basic foundational knowledge that is fundamental to understand the intellectual history of China, but also represents an interpretive key to unravel literary tropes and references to literary sources featured in contemporary media (film, video games, tv dramas, music etc.) as well as in current political and intellectual discourse at large. The course is also propaedeutic to the study of contemporary literary trends and movements in “Greater China” and sinophone literature at large. The course prepares students to carry out independent research on Chinese literary texts. It provides students with the necessary knowledge to pursue careers such as literary translator; editor, acquisition manager or literary agent; interpreter or dubbing actor; cultural mediator; music, video and video game content creator; film or literary critic; media specialist; journalist; librarian or teacher, just to quote a few.
Brief description of the course
The course introduces the cardinal texts and main authors of the Chinese literary traditions, as well as the main literary genres, trends and movements that developed in the pre-imperial, imperial and modern period, contextualizing them against their respective historical and socio-cultural background. During the course, the students will be exposed to and read a broad and diverse selection of different kinds of texts from different authors and time periods in English translation. They will familiarize themselves with the most important literary genres and styles of Chinese literature, learning how to approach and analyse a text independently. In particular, the course will focus on masterpieces of the Chinese literary tradition, both premodern and modern, providing an exhaustive introduction to the development of Chinese literature across the ages. Some of the topics that will be addressed are the “Confucian” Classics, the philosophical Masters, Tang poetry, “marvel tales” (chuanqi), the development of the novel and the Four Great Classical Novels, the May Fourth Movement and the development of modernist literature and poetry in the 20th century.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- has acquired a solid basic foundational knowledge of the evolution and development of the main literary genres, trends and movements of Chinese literature across the ages;
- has familiarized themselves with different kinds of texts belonging to different genres and from different time periods;
- is able to produce a critical reading of a text, both orally and in writing, and to contextualize a text within its historical period and literary genre;
- has acquired the necessary skills to carry out the analysis of a literary text from the point of view of the genre, style, and content;
- is knowledgeable about the main tropes, characteristics, and patterns of Chinese literature, both in prose and in verse;
- is familiar with the Chinese Classics and the masterpieces of Chinese literature, both premodern and modern;
- the main literary and poetical figures in the history of Chinese literature across the ages;
- is capable of establishing meaningful diachronic and synchronic connections between texts showing similar characteristics across the ages;
- can make meaningful connections from a comparative perspective, bringing Chinese literature in dialogue with Western literature.
Lisa Indraccolo