Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes on Chinese Literature


Friday 3:30-6:15pm


WMY 304


King Fai TAM

Teaching Assistant

Mavis SIU

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

Detailed Course Outline is available on Blackboard.

Week 1: Defining the Terms

Week 2: The Game of Crime

Week 3: No Class

Week 4: Pre-20th Century Literary Depiction of Crime: Moral and Cosmic Dimensions

Week 5: The Crime Genre as Entertainment and Scientific Textbook

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

Participation (15%)

Presentation (20%)

Short written assignment (25%)

Final paper (40%)

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 these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.