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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John C. Hamm
CHIN 552
Seattle Campus

Second-Year Classical Chinese

Problems of grammar, rhetoric, and textual criticism. Later literary texts. Offered: W.

Class description

OVERVIEW: Chinese 552, 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 texts from the late years of the tradition, the end of the Qing dynasty and the beginning of the Republic: authors may include Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao, Yan Fu, and others.

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.

Recommended preparation

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.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by John C. Hamm
Date: 12/30/2013