John C. Hamm
Problems of grammar, rhetoric, and textual criticism. Later literary texts. Offered: W.
OVERVIEW: Chinese 553, a unit in the Department's second-year Classical Chinese series, offers continuing training in the skills needed to read texts in literary Chinese. This term we will be reading classical fiction from “the Yu Chu tradition.” Yu Chu, a diviner at the court of Han Wudi, is recorded as the progenitor of the xiaoshuo genre. Although his own works were lost, his name was attached to a number of later anthologies. Readings from these collections afford a sample of Ming, Qing, and early Republican prose narrative.
Student learning goals
To develop facility in reading classical (literary) Chinese texts.
To gain familiarity with printed and online resources for the study of Chinese language and literature.
To acquire knowledge of some of the varieties of Chinese classical prose narrative, and of general trends in the development of the classical narrative tradition.
General method of instruction
The majority of class time will be devoted to close reading of the assigned primary texts. Students should prepare to: • read the text with correct pronunciation (in modern Mandarin); • explain the contextually appropriate meaning of lexical items; • analyze grammatical structures; • explain allusions and references; • render the text into semantically and grammatically appropriate English. In-class translation will be done orally, though students will find it useful to bring a written draft to class. When secondary readings are assigned, students should be prepared to critically summarize the readings’ main points and to comment on their relevance to the primary texts. The course will be taught in English.
Completion of the first-year Classical sequence (Chinese 451-2-3) is a prerequisite for the course. Completion of the Methods and Materials course (Chinese 559) or at least one term from the literary history sequence (Chinese 461-2-3) is also recommended. The course will be conducted in English.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be required to prepare the assigned texts and participate actively in class translation and analysis, and to submit four written assignments. The first three assignments are worksheets based on the texts we are reading in class. The fourth is an original annotated translation of an independently selected text or texts.
Participation: 40% Written homework assignments: 3 x 10% Final translation: 30%