Literature

Teaching Nineteen Eighty-Four in Mao Country

Every Wednesday evening six Chinese girls came to my apartment.  By the middle of the Spring 2010 term at Xiangnan University in the home province of Uncle Mao and General Tso, I had come to depend on them to keep me happy.  They were junior English majors and picked English names like Tina, Victoria, Christie,(…)

The Government-Issued Literature Textbook

I describe the government-issued anthology textbook for Chinese Students. It is good, but has the obvious deficiency of containing only snippets of the greater works. A story by Steinbeck, for example, has only one chapter.  So this is just one reason why I began the semester with an allegorical novel about following your dreams.

Will Chinese Students One Day Appreciate Thoreau?

With the fast pace of growth in China and its emphasis on modernism, I wonder if my students will one day come to appreciate Thoreau’s ideals, especially his love of nature and his concern for the environment.

Understanding Thoreau

In this literature class I help Chinese university students decipher passages in Thoreau’s essay, “Reading,” pointing out that it may take multiple visits to his works — a journey over a span of years — to gain more understanding. I also answer a student’s question into why Thoreau thought reading the classics, preferably in the(…)

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Elizabethan Theatre

With 16 teaching hours per week and a four day weekend it seemed that I had an abundance of free time.  There were no office hours required, but I provided nine hours during evenings throughout the week for students wanting to talk about literature, culture, or life.  It had to be evenings because the studentry(…)