SOAS University of London

China & Inner Asia Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

Modern Chinese Literary Texts

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2021/2022
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 3, Year 3 of 4 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1

In this module students will read in the original language a selection of modern Chinese literary masterpieces produced in the first half of the twentieth century. This set of literary texts, ranging from poetry to fiction, include representative works by famous writers such as Lu Xun, Yu Dafu, Ding Ling, and Zhang Ailing. The module supplements the literary survey course "Literature, Politics, and National Identity in Modern China" and it aims to help students improve their Chinese-language skills as well as their literary reading and analytical thinking skills.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. read, comprehend, and translate Chinese-language literary texts at an intermediate level of proficiency
  2. demonstrate an awarenss of the various possibilities for reading literature in relation to relevant historical contexts and a range of theoretical ideas
  3. demonstrate an ability to work individually in researching, synthesizing, and preparing for seminars and written course work
  4. strengthen students' skills in research and essay writing based on English and Chinese language primary and secondary sources


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour seminar and a 1 hour lecture.

Scope and syllabus

Students will exercise their skills in interpreting modern literary text, translating two of the most prominent literary texts in the context of modern China.

Method of assessment

A reaction paper of 750 words to be submitted on day 1, week 7 in the term of teaching (20%); an essay of 2,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, in the term following teaching (80%).

Suggested reading

Core Reading:

  • Zhongguo xin wen xue da xi中国新文学大系
  • David Der-wei Wang, A New Literary History of Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2017)

Additional Reading:

  • Lu Xun鲁迅, Lu Xun Xiao Shuo Ji鲁迅小说集
  • Terry Eagleton, How to Read Literature, Yale University Press, 2013
  • Zhang Ailing 张爱玲, Zhang Ailing Wen Ji, 张爱玲文集
  • Zhou Zuoren周作人, Lu Xun xiao shuo li de ren wu鲁迅小说里的人物


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules