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We must go back to the principle of Aristarchus of getting “the solution from the text,” but we must enlarge it until it covers not only the meaning of a verse or passage but the poems entire, and lets us know why the poet, or poets . . . made them as they are, or as they were at first.

—Milman Parry

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Course Materials


There are no prerequisites for this course. (This course is taught in English.)

Course Description

This course will help you reach the following Learning Outcomes established by the Chinese section:

Analyze Chinese Culture, Literature and Language

  1. Outline the basic facts of early Chinese poetry: authors, genres, titles (see Chinese major expected learning outcome 3).
  2. Utilize the basic approaches to analyzing and appreciating literature (see Chinese major expected learning outcome 3).
  3. Write clear, convincing prose, and understand the basics of proper formatting and documentation for scholarly prose.

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Course Materials

The following text is required and may be purchased at BYUBookstore.com or from Amazon.com:

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The course consists of 13 lessons. Each lesson includes a practice homework (covering several exercises), writing assignment(s) (report or reflection paper or both), and one lesson quiz. Every lesson begins with a list of expected learning outcomes and the specific assignments for that lesson. (You won’t have homework on all reading assignments, but these reading assignments are on the midterm and final tests.)

Reflection Papers and Reports

Seven one-page reflection papers will ask you to analyze poems. Nine reports of secondary literature will introduce relevant scholarship. The report should not be a critique, but a summary; not an evaluation, but an epitome of the essential arguments.

These reports and reflection papers will be your opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the techniques of analysis by comparing and contrasting related poems, poets, or styles. Your originality will be demonstrated by control over the poems. There is no need to offset, defend, or support your conclusions with the scholarly insights of others. The reflection papers and reports are one page, single-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, with at least two quotes from the textbook. Submit in .DOC or .DOCX format.

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The exams will set the minimum framework of background information for understanding Chinese poetry by emphasizing the identification of poets, periods, styles, technical terms, etc. that form the basic outline of classical Chinese poetry and the vocabulary of literary appreciation. Each exam, a midterm and a final, will be a combination of identification, essay questions, and poetical analysis. The identification portion and essay questions will be based on the lecture notes and poems introduced in the lesson. The poetical analysis component of the exams will be based on the texts of poems that have not yet been seen but that are to be analyzed and appreciated in the same manner as our lessons have introduced. The midterm will be taken after lesson 7; the final exam will cover lessons 8–13.

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Schedule of Themes

The following schedule is an approximate indication of the pace of this course. Since the poems in An Anthology of Chinese Literature are not always arranged according to genre or even author, there are no particular pages assigned for weekly readings. Instead, read all of the poems by a particular poet, or in a particular genre, or on a particular theme, regardless of its location in An Anthology of Chinese Literature, as directed by the instructor and defined below as the weekly theme.

Lesson 1

Syllabus and course overview

Part 1

Lesson 2 - Lesson 6

. The Beginnings: From Magic to Morality

Lesson 7

. Music and Poetry


Part 2

Lesson 8

. From Rhetoric to Realism: Han, Three Kingdoms and Jin shi

Lesson 9

. The Poet as Escapist: Three Kingdoms and Jin shi

Lesson 10

. Religious Landscapes: Southern and Northern Dynasties Poetry

Lesson 11

. Love and the Courtly Style: Southern and Northern Dynasties Poetry

Lesson 12

. Tang Efflorescence:

Lesson 13

. Middle Tang and Late Tang—Bai Juyi and Du Mu



Your final course grade will be determined as detailed below:

Assignments and Exams Percent of Grade
13 Lesson Quizzes 24% (the lowest quiz score is dropped)
12 Homework Assignment Sets 12%
7 Reflection Papers and 9 Reports 16%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 28%
Total Course Weight 100%

Grading Scale
A 93–100%
A− 90–92%
B+ 87–89%
B 84–86%
B− 81–83%
C+ 78–80%
C 75–77%
C− 72–74%
D+ 69–71%
D 66–68%
D− 65%
E (fail) 59% or below

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


12 sets of practice homework exercises (may be resubmitted once with no fee), 13 lesson quizzes (comprehensive, open book, timed; lowest score is dropped);16 reports or reflection papers


Midterm and final exams may not be retaken.You must pass the final exam with 60 percent or higher to pass the course. No retakes allowed.

Getting Help

The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

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Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514