COMP 291
Red Chamber Dreams: Reading China's Greatest Novel Fall 2021
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed ASIA 291 / COMP 291

Class Details

Since it first began to circulate in manuscript in the mid-eighteenth century, Cao Xueqin’s novel Story of the Stone (Shitou ji), also called Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng), has captured the imaginations of readers young and old with its sprawling story of the coming-of-age of members of a wealthy family on the cusp of ruin. As critically acclaimed as it is beloved, Story of the Stone is widely regarded as China’s greatest novel due to the intricacy of its narrative, the complexity of its characters, and the sophistication with which it deals with themes as varied as romance, enlightenment, sexuality and gender identity, and the construction of public and private spaces. The focus of this tutorial will be reading the 120-chapter novel. Students will have the option to read either in Chinese or English (though papers and class discussion will be in English). We will also read scholarly literature to learn about some of the major critical approaches to the novel, and about its enduring importance in the Chinese literary tradition.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1549
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Tutorial papers (including revision of selected papers for a final portfolio) and responses.
Prerequisites: None.
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative literature majors and prospective majors; Asian Studies concentrators.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASIA 291 Division I COMP 291 Division I
WS Notes: Students will write a 5- to 7-page paper every other week for a total of five papers. On weeks in which they are not writing, they will critique their partner's paper. Papers will receive substantial individualized feedback on both writing and content from the instructor as well as the tutorial partner.

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