Chinese literature and culture 2 (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Barbara Bisetto
Barbara Bisetto
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2018 al Jan 12, 2019.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course aims to present the diachronic development of Chinese literature from its origins to the eighteenth century, through the description of the historical-cultural system and the analysis of genres, authors and major works. At the end of the course, students will have to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the topics covered during lessons and of the relevant critical discourses, and be able to describe independently and with critical competence the ancient and premodern literary history.


Literature and thought of pre-imperial times, poetry and prose from Han dynasty, literature from the Six Dynasties, the arrival of Buddhism in China, Tang-era literature, the development of a popular literature, Song-dynasty literature, poetry and theatre of the Yuan, theatre and fiction from Ming and Qing dynasties. Thematic and historical excursus through genres, religion in literature, social developments and their effects on cultural history, changes in literary language from classical Chinese (wenyan) to vernacular Chinese (baihua).
A section of the course will be dedicated to the investigation of the eighteenth century masterpiece, Honglou meng 红楼梦 (Dream of the Red Chamber).

Textbooks and materials for the exam:
- Idema, Wilt; Haft, Lloyd, Letteratura cinese, Venezia, Cafoscarina, 2000 (until p. 274).
- Owen Stephen (Ed. and Transl.), An Anthology of Chinese Literature. Beginnings to 1911, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1996 (selections).
- Ts'ao Hsüeh-ch'in, Il sogno della camera rossa, trad. it a cura di Edoarda Masi, Milano, BUR, 2008.

One text among the following:
- Baccini Giulia (a cura di), I Sette Savi del Bosco di Bambù. Personalità eccentriche nella Cina medievale, Venezia, Marsilio, 2016.
- Bisetto Barbara (a cura di), Il laccio scarlatto, Venezia, Marsilio, 2010.
- Zacchetti Stefano (a cura di), Storie delle sei perfezioni. Racconti scelti dal Liu du ji jing, Venezia, Marsilio, 2013.

Additional materials will be uploaded by the teacher on the e-learning page of the course.

Recommended books:
- Cheng Anne, Storia del pensiero cinese, 2 voll. Torino, Einaudi, 2000.
- Mair H. Victor (ed), The Columbia History of Chinese Literature, New York, Columbia University Press, 2001. Oppure Chang Kang-I Sun, Owen Stephen, The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature, 2 Voll., Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- Masi Edoarda, Cento capolavori della letteratura cinese, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2009.
- Pirazzoli Melinda, Intenti poetici. Poesia, poeti e generi poetici della Cina classica dalle origini alla dinastia Tang, Torino, Ananke, 2017.
- Vogelsgang Kai, Cina. Una storia millenaria, Torino, Einaudi, 2013. Oppure Ebrey Buckley Patricia, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010 (2nd edition).

Teaching methods:
The course will be taught through frontal lessons which follow and integrate the content of the textbooks. Files containing the topics of the lessons will be uploaded on the e-learning page of the course, as well as other materials for further study. All these materials will be useful for attending and non-attending students alike.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Owen Stephen An Anthology of Chinese Literature. Beginnings to 1911 W.W. Norton & Company 1996 0-393-97106-6
Bisetto Barbara Il laccio scarlatto Marsilio 2010 9788831706049
Ts'ao Hsüeh-ch'in Il Sogno della Camera Rossa BUR 2008 9788817020756 Trad. di Edoarda Masi
Baccini Giulia I Sette Savi del Bosco di Bambù Marsilio 2016 9788831723565
Idema, Wilt; Haft, Lloyd Letteratura cinese (Edizione 1) Libreria Editrice Cafoscarina 2000 88-85613-88-8
Zacchetti Stefano Storie delle sei perfezioni Marsilio 2013 9788831716079

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will consist in an oral discussion that will test the knowledge of the module’s topics (texts, authors, and genres) and the literary and cultural context