Reading in Modern Chinese Literature Part II: Short Stories (1915-1950)

Reading in Modern Chinese Literature Part II: Short Stories (1915-1950)

Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm
10 sessions (20 hours)
January 10 – March 14, 2019
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), Ai Wu (1904-1992), Zhang Tianyi (1906-1985), Mu Shiying, 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 Stories
1 Ye Shengtao 叶圣陶 《潘先生在难中》
2 Zhang Tianyi 张天翼 《华威先生》
3 Ai Wu 艾芜 《山峡中》
4 Lu Ling 路翎 《平原》
5 Lu Xin 鲁迅 《故乡》
6 Mu Shiying 穆时英 《上海的狐步舞》


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