This course is an introduction to premodern Chinese literature that focuses on the role Chinese literary texts have played in defining selfhood, creating self-image, and articulating the place of the individual in relation to community and state. The arrangement of the course is primarily chronological, from the first millennium BC to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, though texts that cut across history are also juxtaposed to show differences and continuities from a larger perspective. The course contains canonical pieces of the Chinese literary tradition that address similar issues or respond to each other. Besides literary texts, painting, music, and material culture are also incorporated to help students visualize the tradition. Students are encouraged to think about the close relationship between Chinese literati's creation of self-image and political trauma they experienced during dynastic changes.