Reading Modern Chinese Literature: Short Stories (II) (1918-1950)

Reading Modern Chinese Literature: Short Stories (II)  (1918-1950)

Taught by Steve Zhang, Senior Lecturer

Thursday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
January 14 – March 25 (No Class on 2/11, Chinese New Year Eve)
10 sessions (20 hours)
$500 member / $540 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
*This class is taught in Chinese. Advanced level of proficiency in the Chinese language is required.

How did Chinese fiction stimulate the imagination of the burgeoning nation? How did Chinese writers react to the radical revolution to paradigms of thoughts, cultural behavior and even the national language? How did they cope with the challenges reconciling the clashing identities of the new and the old, of East and West, and between the ideal of intellectual freedom and political commitments? How did they develop individualistic literary styles during an era reigned by terror and war? How have their contributions to literature shaped the worldviews and sensibilities of new generations of Chinese people?

Through a sampling of masterpieces by celebrated authors from Lu Xun (1881-1936) to Zhang Ailing (1920-1995), this course offers an extraordinary chance to analyze modern Chinese fiction for anyone who wishes to comprehend why and how China went through a turbulent century of violence, struggles, wars, revolutions and reforms as the birth of a new national language and mass culture seemed to forecast lasting impacts in China.

Selected short stories include works by Lu Xun, Li Jieren (1891-1962), Yu Dafu (1896-1945), Lao She (1899-1966), Shen Congwen (1902-1988), Ba Jin (1904-2005), Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998), and Zhang Ailing. Some pieces have not yet been explored within American college classrooms. From renowned pioneers who led the redefinition of the soul of the nation through China’s new cultural movements to celebrated writers headlining the international anarchist movement, and even influencers of a new generation of readers in the 21th century, all of these literati masters have left lasting impacts on Chinese literature to this day.

Week Author Selected Works
1 Lu Xun 鲁迅 在酒楼上
2 Ye Shengtao 叶圣陶 多收了三五斗
3 Lu Yin 庐隐 灵魂可以卖么
4 Fei Ming 废名 河上柳
5 Shen Congwen 沈从文 三个女性
6 Shi Tuo 师陀 颜料盒
7 Xiao Hong 萧红
8 Mu Shiying 穆时英 上海的狐步舞
9 Mu Shiying 穆时英 父亲
10 Zhang Ailing 张爱玲 封锁



Steve Zhang received graduate degrees in history and classical studies. He has extensive experiences in teaching Chinese language at all levels, Chines literature, and curriculum design. He has published works on literature, history and culture in mainland China, Taiwan and the United States and served on the board of editors for the translation series Approaching China. He is currently a professor of Chinese language and culture at SUNY. He has also taught at various schools such as the City University of New York, Fordham University, and Saint Mary’s College. He joined China Institute in 2005 and has offered a wide range of classes, including Chinese language at all levels, Reading Modern Literature: Essays, Reading Modern Literature: Short Stories, Reading Social Media Texts, Intermediate Conversations, Business Chinese, among others.

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Instructor: Steve Zhang