Programmheft APR-JUL 2024:

Für eventuelle Änderungen bitte vor Veranstaltungen auf die Website schauen.

The Turning Point: A Model of Becoming in Early Medieval Chinese Autobiographic Writings

Prof. Tian Xiaofei (Harvard University, currently Münster)

Early Chinese autobiographical writings tend to paint a still portrait of who the author is: his temperament, personality, and achievements. They operate on a model of being and, at best, of a continuous, lifelong self-cultivation and a gradual process of self-actualization. In the fourth century, we see an emphasis on transformation in an author’s life writing. A moment that sheds light on the past and points to the future is singled out as a turning point, and this turning point creates a new possibility for autographical writings. Instead of a depiction of what is, we see a narrative of change, and this talk proposes that the narrative of change owes a profound debt to Buddhist stories of conversion and enlightenment.


Xiaofei Tian is professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University. She is the author of many articles and monographs in Chinese and English, including Tao Yuanming and Manuscript Culture, Visionary Journeys: Travel Writings from Early Medieval and Nineteenth-Century China, and The Halberd at Red Cliff: Jian’an and the Three Kingdoms. She is the editor of Reading Du Fu: Nine Views, and a co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Classical Chinese Literature (1000 BCE–900 CE) and Literary History in and beyond China. Her translation of a memoir of the Taiping War from a child’s perspective was awarded the inaugural Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation. She currently serves as Editor of the peer-review journal Early Medieval China.


Anmeldung über Zoom

  • Di, 28. Mai 18.00 - 19.30 Uhr