Mount Holyoke College, Spring 2001

Ying Wang
x2281, 128 Ciruti

Course page on the Internet:

AS240 Women in Chinese Literature

go to: syllabus

Course Description:

This course examines various modes of representation by which women have been portrayed in traditional Chinese literature. Through our close reading of a wide range of materials, including poetry, fiction, essays, and drama from 600 BC to the end of 19th century, the course seeks to explore new perspectives on issues relating to gender studies, such as how the image(s) of women changed throughout Chinese history, what kind of heroines were favored by Chinese writers, and whether "women" becomes a literary trope for Chinese society in the imperial China.

Class Format and Assignments:

The class will meet every Monday and Wednesday afternoon for one hour and fifteen minutes (2:40-3:55pm). Active participation in class discussion will be expected of all students. One short paper (5 pages) and one long paper (10 pages) are required, as listed in the following schedule. Two projects are required as the preparation of the final paper. First project includes a two-page long proposal and bibliography of the proposed final paper. Second project is an oral presentation, which leads to finalization of the final essay. Guidelines will be issued for paper topics, and students will define individual topics in consultation with the instructor.

Readings and Texts:

All reading assignments are to be completed by the dates listed in the schedule. All texts, including those available for purchase, will be on reserve. Please plan ahead for reserve readings, some of which will be included in a course packet.

In addition to required readings, a number of texts will be available on reserve for use as background material for your papers. Optional readings will be suggested during the course, and you will be expected to make use of non-required material for your papers.

Assigned Texts Available for Purchase are as follows:

Birch, Cyril, trans. The Peony Pavilion. Boston: Cheng & Tsui Company, 1980.

David Hawkes, trans. The Story of the Stone. Vol. One: The Golden Days. Penguin Books Ltd, 1973.

Leonard Pratt & Chiang Su-hui, trans. Six Records of a Floating Life. Penguin Books Ltd, 1983.

Course packet containing selected readings.

Grading System:
Class participation 25%
Short paper 20%
Project 10%
Oral presentation 15%
Final essay 30%

Bibliographical Reference Works:

*Cahill, Suzanne E. Transcendence & Divine Passion: The Queen Mother of the West in Medieval China. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1993.

Birrel, Anne. Chinese Mythology: An Introduction. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

*Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. The Inner Quarters: Marriage and Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period. Los Angeles: University of California, 1993.

Edwards, Louise p., Men and Women in Qing China: Gender in The Red Chamber Dream, Leiden, New York, and Koln: E.J. Brill, 1994.

Elvin, Mark. "The Inner World of the Early Nineteenth Century." In his Changing Stories in the Chinese World. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1997, 11-48.

Guisso, Richard W. and Johannesen, Stanley, ed. Women in China. New York: Philo Press, 1981.

*Hanan, Patrick. The Chinese Vernacular Story. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.

*------. The Invention of Li Yu. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.

*Huang, Martin W. Literati and Self-Re/Presentation: Autobiographical Sensibility in the Eighteenth-Century Chinese Novel. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1995.

*Hsia, C. T.. The Classic Chinese Novel. New York: Columbia University Press, 1977.

*Ko, Dorothy. Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1994.

*Levy, Dore J. Ideal and Actual in The Story of the Stone. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

*Mann, Susan. Precious Records: Women in China's Long Eighteenth Century. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1997.

*Mcmanhon, Keith. Misers, Shrew, and Polygamists: Sexuality and Male-Female Relations in Eighteen-Century Fiction. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 1995.

Moi, Toril. Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory. London and New York: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1988.

*Nienhauser, William H., ed. The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

*Plaks, Andrew, ed. Chinese Narrative: Critical and Theoretical Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977.

*------. The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.

Raphals, Lisa. Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

Roddy, Stephen J. "The Philological Musings of Jinghua yuan," in his Literati Identity and Its Fictional Representations in Late Imperial China. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998.

Warhol, Robyn R. and Herndl, Diane Price, ed. Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996.

*Watson, Burton. Early Chinese Literature, New York: Columbia University Press, 1962.

*Widmer, Ellen and Sun, Kang-I, ed. Writing Women in Late Imperial China. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1997.

Wu, Yenna. The Chinese Virago: A Literary Theme. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Zeitlin, Judith T. Historian of the Strange: Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale. Stanford, California : Stanford University Press, 1993.

Zhang, Yingjin, ed. China in a Polycentric World: Essays in Chinese Comparative Literature. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998.

Go to: syllabus (printout)

Go to: On-Line Materials

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