Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes on Chinese Literature: The Crime Genre


Tuesdays 15:30 – 18:15




Prof. King-fai Tam

Teaching Assistant

Ka Wai Wu

Course Description

This course will study a body of Chinese fictional works with a focus on the depiction of crime in its many facets: the perpetrator, the victim, the investigator, the commitment of the crime, the investigation, the punishment, the social and historical settings in which the crime occurs and the material and psychological circumstances surrounding it. It will adopt a loosely chronological approach, beginning with the treatment of crime in literature in the premodern period, through various stages in the twentieth century and ending with the contemporary period. It focuses mainly on the development in the Chinese mainland, but will also touch upon that in Hong Kong and the other areas of the Sinophone world.

Course Outline

WEEK 1: Organizational meeting; Defining the Terms

WEEK 2: The Game of Crime

WEEK 3: Pre-20th Century Literary Depiction of Crime: Moral and Cosmic Dimensions

WEEK 4: The Crime Genre as Entertainment and Scientific Textbook

WEEK 5: Chongyang Festival

WEEK 6: The Criminal, the Counter-revolutionary

WEEK 7: The Spy and the Mole

WEEK 8: Procedural

WEEK 9: Noir, Hard-boiled detective, Femme Fatale

WEEK 10: Revenge

WEEK 11: The Chinese Detective in the West I

Week 12: The Chinese Detective in the West II

Week 13: Summation


Assessment & Assignments





Short written assignment


Final paper


Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures.