ALC 335

The Chinese Classic Novel: Real Illusions, Virtuous Violence, and the Romance of the State

The narrative tradition in Chinese literature is a long and complex one, but while Chinese poetry is said to have reached its height in the Tang and Song Dynasties, there is a near-universal agreement that the novels of the Ming and Qing Dynasties represent the golden age of fiction in the Chinese language. These novels cover an incredible range, from pointed satire to subtle and moving romance, from magical adventures to grand political drama, and from heroic war epics to the vividly ribald. The class?s primary focus is on reading and interpreting selections from six novels: The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Marshes of Mont Liang, Journey to the West, The Plum in the Golden Vase, The Scholars, and The Dream of the Red Mansions. Through these texts, students gain a detailed understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the novels, as well as a deep understanding of the ways in which the authors approached all aspects of human existence, from the practical to the religious and philosophical.