SOAS University of London

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

Literature, Politics and National Identity in Modern China

Module Code:
155903017
Status:
Module Not Running 2019/2020
Credits:
15
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 of 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Term 1

How did modern Chinese literature come into being? How did Chinese literature contribute to the making of a modern nation-state and reveal contested visions of national identity? This course introduces the main Chinese intellectual traditions, representative literary texts and authors in the Republican era (1912-1949). Major topics include literature and nation, ideology and realism, women’s literature, as well as wartime writing.

This module is one of two survey modules on modern Chinese literature. There is no language prerequisite for this module. For students who would like to read original texts, they are advised to take Reading Modern Literary Texts.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the important developments in the modern Chinese society and Chinese literary tradition
  2. articulate the significance of key historical events to reading and interpreting Chinese writing in this period
  3. demonstrate an awarenss of the various possibilities for reading literature in relation to relevant historical contexts and a range of theoretical ideas
  4. demonstrate an ability to work individually in researching, synthesizing, and preparing for seminars and written course work

Workload

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

Scope and syllabus

The following syllabus is for guidance only and is subject to alteration at the discretion of the module convenor.

  • Week 1: Introductoin: contextualizing modern Chinese literature
  • Week 2: National Language and New Vernacular Literature
  • Week 3: The Rise of Modern Chinese Fiction
  • Week 4: Masculinity and Nation
  • Week 5: Ideology and Realism
  • Week 6: Reading Week
  • Week 7: Women's Literature
  • Week 8: The Literature of Leisure
  • Week 9: Narrating Nostalgia
  • Week 10: New Urban Culture and Modernist Fiction
  • Week 11: Writing and Domesticity in Times of Love and War

Method of assessment

One two-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%); a 1,000 word research exercise to be submitted on day 1, week 7 in the term of teaching (20%); a 1,500 word research exercise to be submitted on day 1, week 1, in the term following teaching (30%).

Suggested reading

  • Chen Duxiu, “On Literary Revolution” in Kirk A. Denton ed., Modern Chinese Literary Thought: Writings on Literature 1893-1945 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), 140-145.
  • Lu Xun, “A Madman’s Diary,” in Joseph Lau and Howard Goldblatt, eds., Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 7-16.
  • Yu Dafu, "Sinking" in Joseph Lau and Howard Goldblatt, eds., Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 44-69.
  • Mao Dun, “Spring Silkworms” in Joseph Lau and Howard Goldblatt, eds., Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 70-88.
  • Ding Ling, Miss Sophia’s Diary, in Tani E. Barlow with Gary J. Bjorge (eds.), I Myself am a Woman: Selected Writings (Boston: Beacon Press, 1989), 49-81.
  • Lin Yutang, “My Turn at Quitting Smoking”, in Joseph Lau and Howard Goldblatt, eds., Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 616-620.
  • Shen Congwen, “Husband”, in Jeffrey Kinkley ed., Shen Congwen: Imperfect Paradise, (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1995) 29-53.
  • Mu Shiying, “The Shanghai Foxtrot (a Fragment)”, Modernism/Modernity, vol.11, no.4 (November 2004), 797-807.
  • Zhang Ailing, “Love in a Fallen City”, in Renditions, no.45, 229-246.

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules