Dr Tian Yuan Tan 陳靝沅
MA (National University of Singapore), PhD (Harvard)
Reader in Chinese Studies
Academic Staff, SOAS China Institute
- Dr Tian Yuan Tan 陳靝沅
- Email address:
- 020 7898 4570
- SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Russell Square: College Buildings
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- Mondays 11-12/Fridays 2-3pm (Terms 1 & 2)
- Secretary-General, European Association for Chinese Studies
- Editorial Board Member, Qingdai wenxue yanjiu jikan (Journal of Qing Dynasty Literature)
- Editorial Board Member, Korea Journal of Chinese Language and Literature
- Editorial Board Member, International Communication of Chinese Culture
- Chinese 304: Traditional Chinese Language and Literature 1
- Sinological Methodology
- Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation
PhD Students supervised
- Alastair Ewan Macdonald, A new direction in the vernacular short story: interactions between “popular” and elite culture in Paian jingqi.
- Lucrezia Botti, Beauty and Desire in Xianglianti (Fragrant-Dressing-Case-Style) Poetry (Working Title)
- Yin-Chen Kang, The Formation of Taiwanese Classical Theatre: 1895-1935
Pre-modern Chinese literature, with emphasis on drama, fiction, and poetry in the later dynasties; Chinese literary history and historiography; court theatre and performance; cross-cultural interactions between China and other countries
I research in four broad areas outlined below, connected by my interests in the contexts of literary production, criticism, and performance in pre-modern China, the various means and forms through which texts survived, and the making of literary history.
(1) Pre-Modern Chinese Literarature, Literary History and Historiography
My research focuses on drama, songs, and other forms of vernacular literature in the later dynasties of China. My book Songs of Contentment and Transgression: Discharged Officials and Literati Communities in Sixteenth-Century North China (2010) reveals how stigmatised genres such as sanqu songs and drama were used by discharged officials in pursuit of a distinctive voice and identity that differentiated them from traditional Chinese elites.
I am also interested in how literary histories are constructed and how they shape our understanding of the literary past. Some areas I have worked on include the significance of the Mid-Ming (roughly 1450—1550) as a literary period, the problems of “attributive authorship”, and the reconsideration of set categories such as North/South and elite/court/popular culture.
(2) Textual Studies and Editing
My research project on “Lost Songs” of Kang Hai (1475-1541), funded by the British Academy and the Sino-British Fellowship Trust from 2008 to 2010, focused on collating and punctuating a sixteenth-century sanqu collection newly rediscovered in Taiwan. Building on this project, I edited A Critical Edition of Kang Hai's Songs with Introduction, Notes, and Two Essays (2011). My engagement in textual studies has also led me to explore issues such as authorship, the instability of performance texts, editing practices of traditional editors and modern scholars, and the functions and limitations of anthologies.
(3) Imperial Court Culture and Performances
My new research project is on court theatre and performances in late imperial China. A Visiting Fellow Research Grant in 2010 allowed me to conduct archival research at the National Central Library in Taipei. I was also awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant for a two-year research project on the role of literati playwrights in Qing court theatre. Another area I am continuing to work on is the imperial control over literary and theatrical productions.
(4) Reading Chinese Literature across Cultures
Recently I began working on a few collaborative projects concerning cross-cultural interactions between China and other countries and the reception of Chinese literature across cultures. My current focus is on Tang Xianzu (1550-1616), a major playwright and a contemporary of Shakespeare. Using Tang Xianzu and his rich cultural afterlife as a case study, I explore the ways in which major literary writers are regarded as local and national cultural icons, and examine the translatability of their literary legacies across cultures.
- "Brave New Theatres: 1616 in China and England", in collaboration with Shih-pe Wang (National Chung Cheng University) and Paul Edmondson (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.
- “Entertaining the Emperor: Elite Playwrights and Court Theatre in Eighteenth-Century China,” research project funded by the British Academy.
- Passion, Romance, and Qing: The World of Emotions and States of Mind in Peony Pavilion, in collaboration with Paolo Santangelo (Sapienza University of Rome), under contract with Brill.
Participation in International Projects and Collaborations:
- “The Theatrical Worlds of Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare”, collaborative project between six institutions and organisations from the UK and China, developed with fundings from SOAS Faculty of Languages and Cultures Seedcorn Grant and the Society of Chinese Theatre Studies (Tang Xianzu Branch) in China.
- “Emotions in History and Literature: An Interdisciplinary Research Project on Emotions and States of Mind in Ming-Qing China”
- “A Historical Survey of Western Scholarship on Classical Chinese Drama” (Co-investigator), research project in progress funded by the Sino-British Fellowship Trust (UK) and the Ministry of Education of China.
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- Special Study Programmes
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- Long Term Consultancy
- East Asia
Tan, Tian Yuan (2011) Kang Hai sanqu ji jiaojian 康海散曲集校箋 (A Critical Edition of Kang Hai's Songs with Introduction, Notes, and Two Essays). Hangzhou: Zhejiang guji chubanshe.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2010) Songs of Contentment and Transgression: Discharged Officials and Literati Communities in Sixteenth-Century North China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center. (Harvard-Yenching Institute monograph series, 75)
Xu, Yongming and Tan, Tian Yuan, eds. (2013) Yingyu shijie de Tang Xianzu yanjiu lunzhu xuanyi 英語世界的湯顯祖研究論著選譯 (An Anthology of Critical Studies on Tang Xianzu in Western Scholarship). Hangzhou: Zhejiang guji chubanshe.
Van Crevel, Maghiel and Tan, Tian Yuan and Hockx, Michel, eds. (2009) Text, Performance, and Gender in Chinese Literature and Music: Essays in Honor of Wilt Idema. Leiden: Brill. (Sinica Leidensia, v.92)
Tan, Tian Yuan (2012) 'Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare: Two Theatrical Cultures in Global Perspective 湯顯祖與莎士比亞：兩種戲劇文化的全球視野(in English and Chinese).' In: Society of Chinese Theatre Studies (Tang Xianzu Branch), and Suichang Association of Social Sciences, , (eds.), Tang Xianzu-Shashibiya wenhua gaofeng luntan ji Tang Xianzu he Wan Ming wenhua xueshu yantaohui lunwen ji 湯顯祖-莎士比亞文化高峰論壇暨湯顯祖和晚明文化學術研討會論文集. Zhejiang: Zhejiang University Press, pp. 24-29.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2011) 'Guanyu Ming Qing gongting yanju yanjiu de jidian sikao 關於明清宮廷演劇研究的幾點思考 (Reflections on the Study of Court Theatre in Late Imperial China).' In: The Palace Museum, , (ed.), Ming Qing gongtingshi xueshu yantaohui lunwenji (di yi ji) 明清宮廷史學術研討會論文集（第一輯））. Beijing: Zijincheng chubanshe, pp. 467-477.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Rethinking Li Kaixian’s Editorship of Revised Plays by Yuan Masters: A Comparison with his Banter about Lyrics.' In: Van Crevel, Maghiel and Tan, Tian Yuan and Hockx, Michel, (eds.), Text, Performance, and Gender in Chinese Literature and Music: Essays in Honor of Wilt Idema. Leiden: Brill, pp. 139-152.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Kang Hai houqi nanqu xiaoling chutan: jianlun Langtaosha qupai de jige wenti 康海後期南曲小令初探—兼論【浪淘沙】曲牌的幾個問題 (A Study of Kang Hai’s Composition of Southern Songs in His Later Years, Along with a Discussion on the Tune Title Langtaosha).' In: Chen, Qingyuan, (ed.), Mingdai wenxue lunji. Fuzhou: Haixia wenyi chubanshe, pp. 1065-1076.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2008) 'The Sovereign and the Theater: Reconsidering the Impact of Ming Taizu’s Prohibitions.' In: Schneewind, Sarah, (ed.), Long Live the Emperor: Uses of the Ming Founder across Six Centuries of East Asian History. Minneapolis: Society for Ming Studies, pp. 149-169. (Ming Studies Research Series)
Tan, Tian Yuan (2006) 'Ming zhongye qujia Kang Hai ziliao de xin faxian jiqi jiazhi 明中葉曲家康海資料的新發現及其价值 (The Discovery of Materials Related to the Mid Ming Writer Kang Hai and Its Significances).' In: Dong, Jian and Rong, Guangrun, (eds.), Zhongguo Xiju: Cong Chuantong dao Xiandai = 中國戲劇: 從傳統到現代 (Chinese Drama: From Traditional to Modern Forms). Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, pp. 179-196.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2002) 'Ye Fashi fushi zhenyao: Jingshi tongyan zhong de ling yi "sishi juan"《葉法師符石鎮妖》——《警世通言》中的另一“四十卷” (A Study of a 'New' Huaben Story in Jingshi tongyan: 'Exorcist Ye Subdues the Demon with a Charmed Rock').' In: Kow, Mei Kao and Huang, Lin, (eds.), Mingdai xiaoshuo mianmianguan: Mingdai xiaoshuo guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 明代小説面面觀——明代小説國際學術研討會論文集 (Aspects of Ming Dynasty Fiction: Proceedings of the International Conference on Ming Fiction). Shanghai: Xuelin chubanshe, pp. 354-371.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2010) 'Emerging from Anonymity: The First Generation of Writers of Songs and Drama in Mid-Ming Nanjing.' T’oung Pao. International Journal of Chinese Studies, 96 (1-3). pp. 125-164.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2010) 'The Transmission of Sanqu Songs, Writers’ Reputation, and Literati Network in the Mid Ming: Local and Translocal Considerations.' Ming Qing Studies . pp. 193-215.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Xin faxian Kang Hai sanqu ji Pandong yuefu houlu jiaojian (xia) 新發現康海散曲集《沜東樂府後錄》校箋（下）(A Collation and Annotation of Kang Hai’s Newly Discovered Song Collection Pandong yuefu houlu, Part 2).' Wenhua yishu yanjiu 文化藝術研究 (Studies in Culture & Art ), 2 (5). pp. 145-175.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Xin faxian Kang Hai sanqu ji Pandong yuefu houlu jiaojian (shang) 新發現康海散曲集《沜東樂府後錄》校箋（上）(A Collation and Annotation of Kang Hai’s Newly Discovered Song Collection Pandong yuefu houlu, Part 1).' Wenhua yishu yanjiu 文化藝術研究 (Studies in Culture & Art ), 2 (4). pp. 117-134.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Shixu zhi kangheng: Wang Jiusi quzuo zhong de liangzhong guiyin 失序之抗衡—王九思曲作中的兩種歸隱 (Contending with Displacement: Two Forms of Retirement in Wang Jiusi's Songs and Drama).' Xiju Yanjiu戲劇研究=Journal of Theater Studies (3). pp. 49-74.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2007) 'The Wolf of Zhongshan and Ingrates: Problematic Literary Contexts in Sixteenth-Century China.' Asia Major, Third Series, 20 (1). pp. 105-131.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2006) 'Kang Hai sanqu ji de xin faxian jiqi wenxian jiazhi--du Taiwan guojia tushuguan suocang Pandong yuefu houlu erjuan 康海散曲集的新發現及其文獻價值——讀臺灣國家圖書館所藏《沜東樂府後錄》二卷 (The New Discovery of Kang Hai’s Sanqu Collection and Its Significances--Reading Pandong Yuefu Houlu in the Collection of Taiwan National Library).' Zhongguo wenzhe yanjiu tongxun = 中國文哲研究通訊 (Newsletter of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taipei), 16 (2). pp. 75-91.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2004) 'Prohibition of Jiatou Zaju in the Ming Dynasty and the Portrayal of the Emperor on Stage.' Ming Studies (49). pp. 82-111.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2012) 'Review of Sophie Volpp, Worldly Stage: Theatricality in Seventeenth-Century China.' Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 72 (2). pp. 430-437.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2011) 'Review of Stephen H. West and Wilt L. Idema eds. and trans., Monks, Bandits, Lovers, and Immortals: Eleven Early Chinese Plays.' Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Third Series), 21 (3). pp. 400-402.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Review of Daniel Bryant, 'The Great Recreation: Ho Ching-ming (1483-1521) and His World'.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 72 (3). pp. 582-584.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2009) 'Review of A Dream of Glory (Fanhua meng): A Chuanqi Play by Wang Yun, translated, with introduction and annotation, by Qingyun Wu.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 72 (3). pp. 581-582.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2008) 'Review of Zong-qi Cai ed., 'How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology'.' Monumenta Serica (56). pp. 519-521.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2006) Qu Writing in Literati Communities: Rediscovering Sanqu Songs and Drama in Sixteenth-Century North China. PhD thesis. Harvard University.
Tan, Tian Yuan (2012) 'A Dysfunctional Dynasty (The Orphan of Zhao in 1616).' In: The Orphan of Zhao Programme. UK: Royal Shakespeare Company.