David Rolston

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David Rolston

Associate Professor of Chinese Literature

202 S. Thayer, Suite 6111
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

Office Location(s): 5151 STB
Phone: 734.647.2097

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Center for Chinese Studies
  • Fields of Study
    • Traditional Chinese theater and drama
    • The modernization of Chinese theater
    • The rise of Peking opera as the mass media of late imperial early Republican China
    • Traditional Chinese fiction
    • Traditional Chinese fiction criticism
  • About

    Research Interests
    My research interests center on the development of traditional Chinese fiction and drama, their interactions and mutual influence. I have particularly focused on the development of Chinese fiction commentary and the way that it reoriented the reading of older works and affected the writing of new works, how reformers have tried to adapt traditional Chinese theater to the needs of the modern world, and the influence of Peking opera as the premiere mass media at the end of the imperial period and the beginning of the Republican period.

    I welcome graduate students interested in any aspect of traditional Chinese fiction and drama and also the fate of traditional Chinese theater in the 20th century.

    Recent Courses Taught

    I have taught undergraduate courses on the history of traditional Chinese literature of both the early and later periods and the development of traditional Chinese fiction and drama, both undergraduate and graduate courses on individual masterworks of Chinese fiction and drama such as the Honglou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber, a.k.a., The Story of the Stone), the Jin Ping Mei (Plum in the Golden Vase), and the Mudan ting (The Peony Pavilion), and on such topics as the modernization of Chinese theater, the treatment of court cases in fiction and drama, and the fiction and drama of Li Yu (1611-1680).

    Select Publications

    • How to Read the Chinese Novel (editor and contributor; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990)
    • Oral Performing Literature in Traditional Chinese Fiction: Nonrealistic Usages in the Jin Ping Mei cihua and their Influence (1994)
    • Traditional Chinese Fiction and Fiction Commentary: Reading and Writing Between the Lines (Stanford University Press, 1997); various articles in Chinese on Peking opera.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1988