ANS 372 • Decoding Classical Chinese Poetry
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This course will provide an introduction to the classical Chinese poetic tradition and is open to all students. No previous background in Chinese language, culture or literature is required. Readings in English translation will encompass a selective sample of poetry from as early as the seventh century B.C.E. through the 8th century. Lectures and discussions will focus on the literary, cultural, historical, social, political, philosophical, and religious background against which these representative works in poetry arose. Background reading will be assigned to supplement the primary works of literature. Course emphasis will be given to poetry of the Tang dynasty (618-907) which is commonly referred to as the "golden age" of Chinese poetry. An intensive and close reading will be given to poems by one of China's greatest and most beloved poets, Du Fu (aka Tu Fu) ßØ®j (712-770).
The poet's response to the human condition will form the framework within which we will consider our role as readers and our interpretation of the poetic treatment of the human response. Lectures, readings and class discussion will examine these ideas and concepts in the context of the Chinese literary memory. Above all, we will decode the literary language of classical Chinese poetry and poetic craft. It is through this process of deciphering what can be puzzling or mysterious that the reader may emerge with yet another response to the human condition. Herein lies the secret of classical Chinese poetry - we can still find out way to the Chinese poet's world today.
Informal Writing (answering discussion questions and free-writing, 25%) Critical Writing (50%) - 3 essays; Essay 1 (3-4 pages, typed, double-space, 10%); Essay 2 (2-3 pages, typed, double-space, 15%); Essay 3 (6-8 pages, typed, double-space, 25%) Creative Writing (1 Poem in imitation of classical Chinese poetry, 1 Matching Poem [of a classmate's poem], 5%) Oral Presentation (5%)
David Hawkes, A Little Primer of Tu Fu (Rpt. Renditions, 1995) to be purchased@paradigm (not co-op) Stephen Owen, ed. and trans. An Anthology of Chinese Literature (Norton, 1996) Michael Sullivan, The Three Perfections: Chinese Painting, Poetry and Calligraphy (Revised edition: George Braziller, 1999)