Skip to main content

In this course you will study how Chinese historical narrative and legends define and transmit the values, concepts, figures of speech, and modes of behavior that have played an important role in Chinese thought and literature over the last two millennia. Even today most (if not all) of the stories we will read in this course are part of the cultural heritage shared by almost everybody who has grown up in China. The core material consists of historical narratives from different historical periods. During the term you will engage with this body of narrative, which means remembering the broad outlines of the stories and learning how to relate them to each other; in other words, finding ways of answering such questions as: How do these narratives reflect the historical periods in which they arose? What motifs occur again and again in the legends? How do the legends evolve over time? How do the values and concepts embodied in them evolve over time?