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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Part II | Option

Course Description

This course introduces advanced selections of prose and poetry in literary Chinese. The course draws on texts ranging from early China to the Republican Period, including pre-Qin philosophical literature, Tang and Song poetry and Buddhist narratives. Students will be introduced to features of grammar and genre as well as the intellectual and historical background of the readings in question.

Guided reading of texts written in literary Chinese with a close attention to the syntactical structure of the source text. Moreover, emphasis is placed on being able to understand unseen texts. Readings include, among others, the Zhuangzi, Intrigues of the Warring States (Zhanguoce), New Account of the Tales of the World (Shishuo xinyu), Biographies of Eminent Monks (Gaoseng zhuan), Liudu ji jing, as well as some early translations of Western books into classical Chinese.

Form and Conduct

This paper will contain three sections, all of which must be attempted. Section 1 will contain one or more passages from seen texts in literary Chinese for translation into English. Candidates may be asked to comment on the texts in question. Section 2 will contain unseen texts for translation into English. Section 3 is a comprehensive reading exercise. Candidates will be asked to answer questions, in English, on one or more unseen texts.


In 2023-24, this course will be taught by Dr Flavia Fang

This description is subject to change, for the latest information, students should consult the Undergraduate Handbook available on the Faculty Intranet.


To be confirmed

Terms taught
Michaelmas, Lent
Michaelmas, Lent