This is an upper level literature course devoted to Lu Xun (1881-1936), arguably the most important writer and intellectual in 20th-century China. We will read closely all of his fictional writings, most of them in the form of short stories, in order to understand why Lu Xun remains a towering figure in modern Chinese literature and culture. We will examine why and how his narratives articulate issues and anxieties central to the Chinese experience of modernity. We will also study Lu Xun's biography and read a small number of select interpretations of his stories as secondary materials. In the process, we will not only gain a better understanding of Lu Xun and his writings, but also develop skills for conducting literary analysis and expressing complex ideas.
Required text: The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun. Other reading materials will be available through CTools. Students with the language capacity are encouraged to read Lu Xun in Chinese as well.
In addition to analyzing and writing on literary texts toward writing a full final paper, there will also be opportunities for creative work that earns extra credit (up to 5 points). Students may work in pairs to finish a creative project, such as writing a sequel to a Lu Xun story or making a short film adaptation.
Requirements and Grading Policy:
- Regular class attendance and active participation in class discussion: 10%
- Weekly CTool posts: 10%
- First short paper (3-4 pages): 10%
- Second short paper (3-4 pages): 15%
- Third short paper (4-5 pages): 20%
- In-class presentation: 10%
- Final paper (8-10 pages): 25%
This course should appeal to undergraduate students in multiple areas including Asian Studies (specifically those in Chinese Studies) and Comparative Literature. Graduate students in ALC, Comparative Literature, and in the Center for Chinese Studies MA program will also appreciate this course.
Class will meet for 90 minutes, twice a week.