In this advanced course, we will study the fiction by four prominent twentieth-century Chinese women writers: Ding Ling, Xiao Hong, Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang), and Wang Anyi. All readings will be in English, but the instructor will be happy to work with participants who wish to read some of the texts in the original language.
Through reading their narratives closely, we will discuss how Ding Ling, Xiao Hong, Zhang Ailing, and Wang Anyi each occupy a pivotal position in the development of modern Chinese literature in general and women’s literature in particular. At the same time, we realize these writers, from vastly different backgrounds and historical periods, engage in a continuing dialogue with one another. We will examine how central issues and themes, such as desire, historical change, and everyday life, are differently addressed and explored by these imaginative writers. Besides familiarizing students with the tradition of women’s literature in modern China, this course should also serve as an advanced introduction to methods and theories in the study of modern Chinese literature.
Participants in the course are expected to attend class regularly and actively contribute to class discussion. Writing assignments include two exercise papers (5 pages each) and a comparative final paper (10-15 pages). Participants will also contribute to ongoing discussions of the reading materials through CTools. Additional supplementary readings may be suggested. Participants should consult the CTools course site for the weekly schedule.
Class participation: 20%
Two exercise papers: 30%
Final research paper: 50%
Ding Ling: I Myself Am A Woman, trans. Tani Barlow (Boston: Beacon Press, 1989);
Xiao Hong: The Field of Life and Death and Tales of the Hulan River, trans. Howard Goldblatt (Boston: Tseng & Tsui, 2002);
Eileen Chang: Love in a Fallen City, trans. Karen Kinsbury (NY: NYRB Classics, 2006);
Wang Anyi: Love in a Small Town, trans. Eva Hung (Renditions, 1991);
Wang Anyi: The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, trans. Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan (New York: Columbia UP, 2008);