Humanities

  • Wendy Swartz
  • Research Interests: medieval Chinese literature and comparative literature

 Wendy Swartz

Professor Swartz is the author of Reading Tao Yuanming: Shifting Paradigms of Historical Reception (427-1900), which critically examines readings of both Tao and his oeuvre over a fifteen-hundred year span. Reading Tao Yuanming has been translated into Chinese: the Traditional Chinese character edition was published by Linking Press (Taipei) in 2014 and the Simplified Chinese Character edition was published by Zhonghua Book Company (Beijing) in 2016. She is also the principal editor of Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2014). The first of its kind, this volume presents a broadly-based selection of important texts from this formative period in the disciplines of literature, historiography, art history, and religion. It was named "Best Reference Title" by Library Journal in March 2015.

She is also the author of Reading Tao Yuanming: Shifting Paradigms of Historical Reception (427-1900) (Harvard University Asia Center, 2008), which critically examines readings of both Tao and his oeuvre over a fifteen-hundred year span. This study shows that the construction of Tao Yuanming as one of China’s greatest cultural icons was a collective and cumulative process, driven by a centuries-long conversation centered on three categories that lay at the heart of literati culture—reclusion, personality, and poetry— a conversation in which varying readings of Tao’s life and works were informed by changing aesthetic and moral concerns and by the development of new hermeneutical tools and critical lexicons.

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