Fall Special: Reading in Modern Chinese Literature: Short Stories (1915-1950)

Fall Special: Reading in Modern Chinese Literature: Short Stories (1915-1950)

Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm
10 sessions (20 hours)
September 27 – December 6 (No Class November 22)
Tuition: $465 members / $505 non-members
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)

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 shape the worldviews and sensibilities of the new generations of Chinese people?

Through a sampling of masterpieces by celebrated authors from Lu Xun (1881-1936) to Lu Ling (1923-1994), this course offers an extraordinary chance to analyze modern Chinese fiction for anyone who wishes to comprehend why and how China has gone through a turbulent century of violence, struggles, wars, revolutions and reforms as the birth of a new national language and mass culture seem to forecast lasting impacts in both the China of the present and the future.

These selections were authored by Lu Xun, Ye Shengtao (1894-1988), Lao She (1899-1966), Shen Congwen (1902-1988), Ba Jin (1904-2005), Sha Ting (1904-1992), Ai Wu (1904-1992), Zhang Tianyi (1906-1985), Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998), Zhang Ailing (1920-1995) and Lu Ling, including many pieces which remain unexplored 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.

Weekly Reading Schedule:

Week Author Selected Essays
1 Lu Xun 鲁迅 《狂人日记》,《孔乙己》
2 Ye Shengtao 叶圣陶 《潘先生在难中》
3 Lao She 老舍 《老字号》,《开市大吉》
4 Shen Congwen 沈从文 《王嫂》,《大小阮》
5 Ba Jin 巴金 《沉落》
6 Zhang Tianyi 张天翼 《华威先生》
7 Sha Ding 沙汀, Ai Wu 艾芜 《在其香居茶馆里》, 《山峡中》
8 Qian Zhongshu 钱钟书 《纪念》
9 Zhang Ailing 张爱玲 《琉璃瓦》
10 Lu Ling 路翎 《平原》


Steve Zhang
received graduate degrees in history and classical studies. He has extended experiences in teaching Chinese at all levels and as well as in curriculum design. He has published on literature, history and culture in mainland, Taiwan and the United States and served on the board of editors for translation series Approaching China. He is currently a professor of Chinese language and culture at SUNY after years of lecturing at various schools such as City University of New York, Fordham University, Saint Mary’s College and University of Minnesota. He joined China Institute in 2005.

Instructor: Steve Zhang