(781) 283-2115
East Asian Languages & Cultures
A.B., Harvard College; M.A., University of Michigan; Ph.D., Harvard University
On Leave 2011-12

Sarah M. Allen
Associate Professor of Chinese

Works on medieval Chinese literature and culture, with a focus on tales written in classical Chinese.

My research specialty is medieval Chinese literature, especially stories and anecdotal literature. I am interested in how stories circulated in China when it was still primarily a manuscript culture when every text to be transmitted in writing had to be copied anew, how literary works are transformed in different genres and different modes of presentation (such as oral and written), and ideas about history and fiction in China and the West. Doing my research is fun because I read a lot of stories about ghosts, heroines, and animals disguised as beautiful women. But I first became interested in medieval literature just because classical Chinese is such an elegant and beautiful language. I am currently working on a book manuscript on classical Chinese tales from the eighth and ninth centuries.

At Wellesley I teach Chinese literature from its beginnings up through the early 20th century, with an emphasis on classical Chinese poetry and prose. I also teach Chinese language, both classical and modern.