SOAS University of London

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

Reading Seminar: Masterpieces of Modern Chinese Literature

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

In this module students will read in the original language a selection of modern Chinese literary texts. Selected readings will be organised either by themes or by authors and they will as much as possible link to the students' research interests.

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 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 tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

  • Writing the city
  • Masculinity and writing
  • Women's writing
  • Narrative and Vanishing Pasts
  • Place and memory

Method of assessment

A research exercise of 600 words to be submitted on day 1, week 4 in the term of teaching (15%); a research exercise of 600 words to be submitted on day 1, week 8 in the term of teaching (15%); an essay of 4000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, in the term following the one in which the module is taught (70%).

Suggested reading

Core Reading
  • Zhongguo xin wen xue da xi中国新文学大系
  • Dang dai zhongguo xin wen xue da di 当代中国新文学大系
Additional Reading
  • Terry Eagleton, How to Read Literature, Yale University Press, 2013.
  • Lu Xun 鲁迅, Lu Xun Xiao Shuo Ji 鲁迅小说集
  • Zhang Ailing张爱玲, Zhang Ailing Wen Ji 张爱玲文集
  • Yu Hua 余华, Yu Hua Zuo Pin Ji 余华作品集


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules