Male Friendship in Chinese Literature
This course provides a survey of Chinese literature
through the prism of male friendship. Friendship, particularly among men,
was a theme that resonated powerfully in traditional Chinese literature,
perhaps because it was the only one of the five Confucian relationships
which was not innately hierarchical. During the course of this semester
we will examine a variety of literary works on friendship and famous friends.
We will begin with early philosophical and historical prose, move to a
consideration of the poetic tradition, and conclude with an examination
of fiction and film from the later Imperial period to the present.
Among the issues I hope to explore in this course are the search for a
"soul mate" as a search for self, the primacy of male friendships over
romantic and domestic ties, and changing constructions of masculinity.
The format of the class is lecture-discussion with an emphasis on discussion.
Readings will also be assigned from:
Hanan, Patrick ed. Silent Operas. Hong Kong: Renditions
Hanan, Patrick ed. A Tower for the Summer Heat. New York:
Columbia University Press, 1992.
Hawkes, David trans. The Songs of the South: An Anthology of Ancient
Chinese Poems By Qu Yuan and Other Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,
Hegel, Robert E. “The Sights and Sounds of Red Cliffs: On Reading Su Shi.” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), Vol. 20, (Dec., 1998) 11-30.
Henry, Eric. “The Motif of Recognition in Early China.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Jun., 1987), 5-30.
Huang, Martin. “Male Friendship in Ming China: An Introduction.” Nan Nü, 9.1 (2007) 2-33.
Huang, Martin. Negotiating Masculinity in Late Imperial China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006.
Kutcher, Norman. “The Fifth Relationship: Dangerous Friendships in the Confucian Context.” The American Historical Review December 2000.
Liu, Wu-chi and Irving Lo ed. Sunflower Splendor. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
Lundberg, Brian. “A Meditation on Friendship.” In Roger T. Ames, ed., Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.
Lyell, William A.trans. Diary of a Madman by Lu Xun.. Honolulu: University
of Hawaii Press, 1990.
Roberts, Moss. “The Language of Values in the Ming novel Three Kingdoms.” Besio and Tung, ed. Three Kingdoms and Chinese Culture. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007) vii-xiv.
Ropp, Paul S. ed. Heritage of China: Contemporary Perspectives
on Chinese Civilization. Berkeley: University of California Press,
Watson, Burton trans. Chuang Tzu Basic Writings. New York:
Columbia University Press, 1996
Watson, Burton trans. Records of the Grand Historian. New
York: Columbia University Press, 1993.
Wang, Jing ed. China’s Avant-Garde Fiction. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.
Yang, Shuhui and Yunqin Yang trans. Stories Old and New compiled by
Feng Menglong. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000.
All of the above are either available online or online reserve in Miller
See Course Schedule for specific reading assignments.
- The Emperor and the Assassin directed by Chen Kaige, 1999
- Hero directed by Zhang Yimou, 2002
- Farewell My Concubine directed by Chen Kaige, 1993.
See Course Schedule for class showings; the films will also be available for two hour loan on reserve in Miller library.
For your Research Presentations:
William H Nienhauser, ed. The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.
In Miller Reference call number: Reference Z3108.L5 153 1986
PHILOSOPHY & RELIGION
HISTORY & ART
- Chinese History For a timeline
of Chinese history and some other interesting links.
Another site with a timeline, maps and thumbnail descriptions of the various
- A Visual
Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization
A site which combinese history with images of Chinese art and material culture
- China the Beautiful For
links to many sites on Chinese literature, art, and culture.
- Inktales an introduction to the exhibition currently on display at the Colby College Museum of Art
- Asia for Educators See especially
the unit on Chinese Poetry under Classical Chinese Literature, and the unit
on Lu Xun under Modern Chinese Literature.
- Chinese Literature
Entry in Wikipedia the the free online encyclopedia-has links to specific
topics such as the the Four Books, Chinese poetry and the various poets we
will be studying, and the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- Modern Chinese Literature and
Culture A site maintained by Kirk Denton of Ohio State University in conjunction
with the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, it includes
a wide variety of resources.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Brothers An Essay on Chinese ritual kinship by David K. Jordan
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms Frontier
This glossy page will give you an idea of how popular the novel and the story
cycle is, it is linked to some commercial sites so browser beware.
- Kongming's Archives This site is:
"dedicated to Luo Guanzhong's novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms
(Sanguo yanyi), related games (e.g. Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms,
Dynasty Warriors, Kessen II), and the history behind them. Kongming's Archives
is also a place for you to share your Romance of the Three Kingdoms
novel and history work with everyone else in the Three Kingdoms community."
- Three Kingdoms Cartoon A
retelling of the novel in comic book form.
- Water Margin Cartoon A retelling of the novel in comic book form
Detail from a piece of traditional Chinese furniture