Chinese literature and culture 2 (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Barbara Bisetto
Barbara Bisetto
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Sep 30, 2019 al Jan 11, 2020.

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.


The course is articulated in two parallel modules. The first module (2 lessons per week) focuses on the historical development of ancient and premodern literature, and it consists of the following thematic units: Literature and thought of pre-imperial times; poetry and prose from Han dynasty; literature from the Six Dynasties; the rise and development of Buddhism in China; Tang-era literature; the development of popular literature and the rise of vernacular 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).
The second modules (1 lesson per week) focuses on the investigation of Confucian thought through the analysis of its foundational works and of its role in the development of Chinese and East Asian cultures.

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.


- Confucio, Dialoghi, a cura di Tiziana Lippiello, Torino, Einaudi, 2003.
- Crisma Amina, Il Cielo, gli uomini. Percorso attraverso i testi confuciani dell’età classica, Venezia, Cafoscarinia, 2000.
- Idema, Wilt; Haft, Lloyd, Letteratura cinese, Venezia, Cafoscarina, 2000 (fino a p. 274).
- Lippiello Tiziana (a cura di), La costante pratica del giusto mezzo. Zhongyong, Venezia, Marsilio, 2010.
- Scarpari Maurizio, Xunzi e il problema del male, Venezia, Cafoscarina, 1997.
- Scarpari Maurizio, Il confucianesimo. I fondamenti e i testi, Torino, Einaudi, 2010.
- Scarpari Maurizio (a cura di), Mencio e l’arte di governo, Venezia, Marsilio, 2013.

The title of the anthology will be comunicated at the beginnning of the course.

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

Recommended supplementary readings:
- 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).

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Confucio Dialoghi Einaudi 2003 8806166085
Crisma Amina Il Cielo, gli uomini. Percorso attraverso i testi confuciani dell'età classica Cafoscarina 2000 8885613896
Scarpari Maurizio Il Confucianesimo. I fondamenti e i testi Einaudi 2010 9788806201173
Lippiello Tiziana La costante pratica del giusto mezzo. Zhongyong Marsilio 2010 9788831706056
Idema, Wilt; Haft, Lloyd Letteratura cinese (Edizione 1) Libreria Editrice Cafoscarina 2000 88-85613-88-8
Scarpari Maurizio Mencio e l'arte di governo Marsilio 2013 9788831715560
Scarpari Maurizio Xunzi e il problema del male Cafoscarina 1997 8885613705

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.