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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Part II | Option

Course Description 2023-24

This paper explores modern and contemporary Chinese literature from the late Qing through to the present day.

This course introduces students to modern Chinese literature of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries by focusing on key authors, literary movements, genres, texts and trends. Chinese-language (also sometimes known as Sinophone) literature is studied within its relevant socio-cultural and political contexts from the late Qing dynasty through to post- Mao commercialisation and the growth of the Internet. Literary analysis of the original Chinese texts and their English translations constitutes a key part of in-class discussions and students are expected to come up with their own interpretations of the texts under consideration, informed by the secondary literature and the concepts and arguments contained therein. The Michaelmas term provides an overview of canonical texts and movements of the Republican era of modern Chinese literature, while the Lent term focuses on major themes and developments in Maoist and post-Mao literature and culture.

Form and Conduct

This paper will consist of two passages in Chinese for translation and comment, and six essay questions, of which two must be attempted.


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


Terms taught
Michaelmas, Lent
Michaelmas, Lent