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Yugen Wang

Yugen Wang profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor, Chinese Literature
  • Phone: 541-346-4148
  • Office: 304 Friendly Hall
  • Affiliated Departments: Comparative Literature Department


Yugen Wang received his Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 2005. He also earned an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Peking University in 1995. Before coming to Harvard for his doctoral degree, he had taught in the Institute of Comparative Literature and Culture and the Chinese Department of Peking University for three years. His primary teaching and research area is classical Chinese poetry and poetics, with a special interest in the emotionality and materiality of reading and writing in the transformational period from the Tang Dynasty to the Song Dynasty. In his first book, Ten Thousand Scrolls: Reading and Writing in the Poetics of Huang Tingjian and the Late Northern Song, he made the argument that the excessive allusiveness of Huang’s poetry, his relentless emphasis on the importance of book learning for poetic composition, should be understood in the dramatically changing conditions of textual production and consumption of the late Northern Song created by the widespread use of the printing technology. It was his goal to not only explore the connection between the development of a particular poetic theory and the emergent print culture, but also explain how that connection was intimately mediated by the temperament and writing habits of the poet and the longitudinal development of the poetic tradition, which was experiencing one of the most important and substantive changes during this period. In his ongoing second book project, tentatively entitled Presence: Nature and the Realistic Transformation of Classical Poetry in Middle Period China, he proposes that underlying the much-debated stylistic differences between Tang and Song poetry is a fundamental change in worldview, illustrated in the changing relationship between the poet and the world, with the poet becoming a realistically imaged and functioning person in full command of the scene. He also tries to make the point that although full manifestation of this new mode of looking and writing did not occur until the Song Dynasty, the code of the change was intrinsically programmed in the theory and practice of landscape poetry of the early medieval period.



Ten Thousand Scrolls: Reading and Writing in the Poetics of Huang Tingjian and the Late Northern Song. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011.

Wanjuan: Huang Tingjian he Beisong wanqi shixue zhong de yuedu yu xiezuo 萬卷: 黃庭堅和北宋晚期詩學中的閱讀與寫作, Chinese translation of Ten Thousand Scrolls by the author, Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2015.

Bijiao wenxue yuanli xinbian 比較文學原理新編 (New perspectives on comparative literature in China), coauthored with Yue Daiyun, Chen Yuehong, and Zhang Hui (responsible for a third of the content), Beijing: Peking University Press, 1998.



Wenxin diaolong Wuse pian yu Zhongguo gudian shige jingwu miaoxie cong xiangyu dao xieshi zhi fanshi zhuanxing” 文心雕龍物色篇與中國古典詩歌景物描寫從象喻到寫實之范式轉型 (The “Colors of Things” chapter of the Wenxin diaolong and the realistic transformation of classical Chinese poetry), Zhongguo bijiao wenxue 中國比較文學 (Comparative literature in China), 2014 (2): 16-39.

“The Limits of Poetry as Means of Social Criticism: The 1079 Literary Inquisition against Su Shi Revisited,” Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 41 (2011): 29-65.

“Huang Tingjian shixue de lishixing he wuzhixing: Jianlun Zhongguo gudian shixue zhong de yanzhi shuo he qingwu guan” 黃庭堅詩學的歷史性和物質性: 兼論中國古典詩學中的言志說和情物觀 (The historicity and materiality of Huang Tingjian’s poetics: Concurrently on the premise of self-expression and the relationship between emotion and nature in classical Chinese poetry), in Le zai qizhong: Yue Daiyun jiaoshou bashi huadan dizi heshou wenji 樂在其中: 樂黛雲教授八十華誕弟子賀壽文集 (In the midst of joy: Festschrift in honor of Professor Yue Daiyun’s eightieth birthday), ed. Chen Yuehong, Zhang Hui, and Zhang Pei, Beijing: Peking University Press, 2011, 166-76

Shige: The Popular Poetics of Regulated Verse,” T’ang Studies 22 (2007 for 2004): 81-125.

Bixing yu Zhongguo shixue yiyi de dongtai shengcheng” 比興與中國詩學意義的動態生成 (Bixing and the dynamics of poetic signification in classical Chinese poetry), Beijing daxue xuebao 北京大學學報 (Academic Journal of Peking University), 1996 (6): 87-92.

“Quanshi xunhuan duiyu Zhongxi bijiao shixue de yiyi” 詮釋循環對於中西比較詩學的意義 (Significance of the Hermeneutic circle to Chinese-Western comparative poetics), Wenyi yanjiu 文藝研究 (Studies in Literature and the Arts), 1996 (2): 38-44.

“Zhongguo yujing zhong de quanshi xunhuan” 中國語境中的詮釋循環 (The Hermeneutic circle in the Chinese context), Wenyi lilun yanjiu 文藝理論研究 (Studies in Theories of Literature and the Arts), 1994 (1): 32-38.