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October 08, 2012

Confucius Institute presents talk on travel writing in imperial China

The Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan (CI-UM) presents

The Place of Literature in Literature of Place: Travel Writing in Imperial China

A CI-UM Lecture by James Hargett, Professor of Chinese Studies, SUNY at Albany

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 | 4pm
Michigan League – Hussey Room (second floor)
911 N. University, Ann Arbor
Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Speaker’s abstract: A large body of literary texts survives from the imperial period in China that is often identified as “travel literature” (in modern Chinese: youji wenxue 游記文學). Its prevalence and importance notwithstanding, this form of writing has not received serious critical attention from scholars. The main purpose of this lecture is to suggest answers to the following questions: (1) What is Chinese “travel literature” and how should it be defined?; (2) Who wrote travel literature in imperial China and why?; (3) Is there a “canon” of Chinese travel literature? If so, then what specific texts constitute that canon and why?; (4) What literary qualities inform the very “best” Chinese travel writing?; and (5): what is the role of youji in the overall development of writing about place in imperial China?

Posted by zzhu at October 8, 2012 08:25 PM