Classical and Literary Chinese 2

Key information

Module not running
Module code
FHEQ Level
China and Inner Asia Section

Module overview

This module builds on the foundation established in Classical and Literary Chinese 1 and students will study more advanced grammar and vocabulary from Classical (pre-Han to Han) and Literary Chinese (post-Han) texts. The majority of this module will be based on reading, translating, and discussing philosophical, political, literary, and historical anecdotes from the Spring and Autumn (770-481 BCE) through the Han (206 BCE-220 CE) periods, as well as prose selections from medieval and late imperial China (600-1900 CE). We will conduct discussions of grammatical and philological issues primarily in English and most of our translation work will be from Classical and Literary Chinese into English.


155901456: Classical Chinese 1 or equivalent

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. read and understand intermediate texts written in Classical and Literary Chinese
  2. demonstrate knowledge of more advanced Classical/Literary grammar and vocabulary
  3. demonstrate basic sinological skills necessary to read and translate Classical and Literary Chinese texts
  4. translate intermediate texts written in Classical and Literary Chinese


Total taught hours : 20 hours. 2 hours of lectures per week for 10 weeks.

Independent study : 130 hours

Total hours for module : 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

Week 1: Revision and Scope of the Module
Weeks 2-5: selections of Classical and Literary Chinese texts
Week 6: Reading Week
Weeks 7-10: selections of Classical and Literary Chinese texts

Method of assessment

Two hour written examination in May/June (30%)

Homework (20%)

Quizzes (20%)

Essay of 2000 words (20%)

Reading analysis of 15-20 mins (10%)

Suggested reading

Core reading:

  • Paul Rouzer, A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese. Harvard 2007.
  • Edwin Pulleyblank, Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar. UBC 1997.
  • Wang Li. Gudai Hanyu (xiudingben). 4 vols. Zhonghua shuju 2000.
  • Wang Hongyuan. Hanzi ziyuan rumen. Huayu jiaoxue 1994.
  • Paul Kroll. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese (revised edition). Brill 2017
  • Shadick/Ch'iao Chien. A First Course in Literary Chinese. 3vols. Cornell 1968.

Additional Reading

  • Yuan et al. Classical Chinese: Supplementary Selections from Philosophical Texts. Princeton 2006.
  • Yuan et al. Selections from Classical Chinese Historical Texts. Princeton 2005.
  • Yuan et al. Readings in Classical Chinese Poetry and Prose. Princeton 2006.
  • Barnes et al. Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar. Alcuin 2009.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules