Chinese Knight-errant Heroism and the Modern World

This course aims to guide students to explore an important aspect in Chinese culture and society through readings and discussions of literary works, TV dramas and movies on martial-arts heroism. Students will be guided to investigate the origin and development of knight-errant heroism through the reading of representative literary works. They will study the concepts from philosophical, social, and literary perspectives, with emphases on the sense of moral responsibility, the use of un-authorized force (taking the law into one’s own hands), and the manly tragic aesthetics. The relevance in modern society and its contrast with rule by law shall also be discussed. Students will learn to compare the differences among the Knight-errant heroism in modern Chinese literature, movies and Hollywood’s “Super Hero” movies and the martial-arts comics in Japan, and to discuss the possibility of innovation of the Chinese Knight-errant heroism through movies, TV dramas or video games.


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