ALC 205

Great Books of China and Japan

This course is an introduction to the literary traditions of China and Japan through the study of the most significant literatures of the two countries. The course moves chronologically through the histories of both countries, starting with early Chinese classics and continuing with representational works in the Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist schools of thought that strongly influenced both cultures. Later, students look at a selection of culturally significant narratives, poetry and drama from parallel literary periods in China and Japan that demonstrate continuities and changes in both cultures over the years. Students learn the structural elements of the different genres and how the evolution of those elements was influenced by historical and cultural shifts. Students who take this course learn to: 1) identify the fundamental characteristics and structures of representative works and important literary genres from different historical periods in China and Japan; 2) think critically about major themes in those works, the ways in which they are constructed, and how they are informed by cultural change; and 3) examine the literatures of the two cultures from a comparative perspective that also acknowledges the influences they had on each other.