Course Code

CHES2105/ CCSS2030

Course Name

Modern Chinese Literature


Tuesday 1:30-2:15pm
Thursday 10:30am-12:15pm


CYT 203 (Tuesday)
LSK LT7 (Thursday)


GAO Yunwen

Teaching Assistant

Miao Zixin

Course Description

Critical changes in literature and culture took place across the twentieth century in China. These changes were in response to the self-strengthening demands of young  evolutionaries after decades of war and national humiliation. Over several decades, Chinese writers experimented with Western literary genres, including realism, romanticism, imagism, modernism, critical realism, magical realism, postmodernism, and so on. Chinese writers constantly probed the issue of literary modernity and attempted to redefine China and Chineseness by incorporating Western influences into classical Chinese aesthetics. This class explores Chinese literary tradition in the twentieth century and early twenty first century through fiction (novels, short stories, poetry, etc.) and films from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China. Major themes we will discuss include socio-political reformation, gender relations, urban space, the environment, and individual subjectivity. Creatively engaging with Western influences and classical literary traditions, Chinese writers and filmmakers we examine showcase how the Chinese reconstructed modern literature in relation to China’s nation-building process. All readings are available in English translations of Chinese originals. No prior knowledge of Chinese is assumed or required.

Course Outline

Detailed Course Outline is available on Blackboard.

Week 1: Course Overview & The Origins of Modern Chinese Literature

Week 2: May Fourth Movement: Literature and the Nation

Week 3: May Fourth Movement and the Salvation of Women

Week 4: Lunar New Year

Week 5: New Women on Screen

Week 6: Iconoclasts of Modern China

Week 7: The Lyrical Tradition of Modern Chinese Literature

Week 8: New Sensationism and the Rise of Urban Centers

Week 9: Constructing the New Woman

Week 10: Women’s Writing and the Quotidian

Week 11: The Beginning of the New Era and Root-Seeing Literature

Week 12: Hong Kong and the Post-colonial Identity

Week 13: Imagining the Post-human: From Science Fantasy to Science Fiction

Assessment & Assignments

Participation (15%)

Pop Quizzes (15%)

In-class Literary Analysis (10%)

Article Review (10%)

Group Presentation (15%)

Term Paper Proposal (5%)

Term Paper (30%)

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.