Historical Epics of China and Japan
SAME AS G33.1726
Involves in-depth study of the major epics of China, Japan, and Vietnam?the historical-military and the social-romantic. The Chinese historical epic Three Kingdoms is read against the Japanese epic Tale of the Heike. Emphasis is placed on the political nature of the dynastic state form, the types of legitimacy and the forms of rebellion, the process of breakdown and reintegration of an imperial house, the empire as dynasty and as territory, and the range of characterology. In the second half of the course, the Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber is read against the Japanese Tale of Genji. In addition to the above-mentioned topics, attention is given to the role of women and marriage in a governing elite, the modalities of social criticism in a novel of manners. The Vietnamese national classic Tale of Kieu is used as an introduction to the course because it combines all of the key topics. Finally, we pay particular attention to the ways in which Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian doctrines function in each work.