Carnegie Mellon University

Traditional Chinese Literature and Thought through Comic Books

Course Number: 82-434

Starting from the 1980s, Tsai Chih Chung (a master cartoonist in Taiwan) created a series of comic books illustrating canonical works in traditional Chinese philosophy and literature. The series soon became a great hit both in Taiwan and China, and has since been translated into different languages around the world. While its popularity continues to grow among its readers, its wide circulation also raises questions among scholars and critics of traditional Chinese literature and culture. In this course, students will be asked to read Tsai Chih Chung's comic books and their animated adaptations, the English translations of the Chinese canonical texts of philosophy and literature, and the secondary sources that provide historical and analytical introductions to the texts. While enjoying Tsai's innovative and delightful comic interpretation, students will work in Chinese to consider serious philosophical questions along with the early Chinese thinkers, to learn to savor the aesthetic beauty of traditional Chinese literature, and to prepare to share their ideas and discovery with the rest of the class.

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Units: 9
Prerequisite(s): 82-332