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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST2009 Classics of Chinese Literature and Thought

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Frances Weightman

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will provide an introduction to key themes in traditional Chinese literature and thought (categories which are not traditionally distinguished in Chinese culture), within a general survey of the development of Chinese literature from ancient times until 1919. The module is suitable both for students on Chinese programmes, and others from across the University who are interested in premodern Chinese culture. Students will gain an overview of what are generally considered to be the classics of traditional Chinese literature, genres, and theory, while simultaneously developing a critical awareness of the notions of such divisions and approaches. There will be a substantial amount of reading each week, but, while there will be discussion of issues arising from reading works in translation, no Chinese language is required for this module.


- To introduce traditional Chinese theories of literature, and encourage critical comparison of these with European and other discourses.
- To provide an overview of the key influential works of Chinese literature and thought (two overlapping categories in Chinese), throughout China's imperial period.
- To provide the opportunity for students to engage critically in discussion and analysis of these works, with both Chinese and western theoretical tools.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will have gained an overview of the major works of Chinese literature and thought. They will also have gained both an understanding of the theoretical tools for approaching premodern Chinese literature, and practical experience in using these.


The first 3 weeks of the module will provide an introduction to the theories of reading Chinese literature, covering topics such as authorship, gender, genre-distinction, canon-formation and translation. The second half of the module will introduce students to the development of individual literary genres of poetry, prose, drama, fiction and philosophy, by reading and discussing sample and representative works in each category.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading and preparation for classes 60 hrs
Researching and writing essay 60 hrs
Preparation for exam 60 hrs

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

There will be ample opportunities during the weekly seminar discussions for oral individual feedback, on general contributions and on non-assessed presentations, and students will also be encouraged to make use of the tutor's office hours for this purpose.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/11/2018 09:25:40


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