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Class guide for Self and Society in Chinese Fiction and Drama

Guidelines for citing from Chinese

Within the body of your paper:

  • You should translate quotations into English. This is true for both primary and secondary sources (for primary sources, you can either cite the translations that we read in class or do your own translation, whichever is easier for you). 
  • For Chinese secondary sources, it is usually easiest to paraphrase the idea rather than giving an exact translation of a quotation. Good translation is much more work than good understanding and good summary. 
  • If you want to be very clear on a specific word or phrase, you may put the original Chinese word in parentheses (give the pinyin and then, if you choose, the 汉字) after its translation. 


  • Tang Xianzu declares in his preface, "Love (qing 情) is of source unknown, yet it grows ever deeper..." (Tang, #)
  • Lu Xun wrote, "The writing of records of the strange (zhiguai 志 怪)...did not originate from the work of any single author; if we trace it to its roots, just as with other peoples, they are found in myth and legend. (Lu, 16)
  • Lu Xun believed that the origins of the "strange records" (zhiguai) genre lay in popular myth and legend. (Lu, 16)

In your bibliography:

  • To cite English translations of published works: Give the original author, translated title, translator, and publication information for the translation. 
    • Example:  Tang Xianzu. The Peony Pavilion. In An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911, edited and translated by Stephen Owen, 882-906. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.
  • To cite a book in Chinese: Give the original author's name in pinyin (optionally followed by 汉字), followed by the title in pinyin (optionally followed by 汉字 and/or a translation of the title into English), then publication information with the name of  the press in pinyin only. 
  • To cite a journal article in Chinese: Give the author's name in pinyin, the title in pinyin, then the journal title in pinyin, then volume, issue, and pages. As above, 汉字 and English translation may be added after the pinyin if needed to help clarify the name, article or journal title. They are often left out to save space. 

Personally, I prefer having the Chinese characters for an author's name if nothing else, to make it easier for someone else to search and find the same source you used. But it is not strictly required by any citation style. 

Lu Xun 鲁迅. Zhongguo xiaoshuo shilue. 中国小说史略 [A brief history of Chinese fiction]. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2011. 
Lu Xun 鲁迅. Zhongguo xiaoshuo shilue. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2011. 

Zhao Jianzhong 趙建忠. "Honglou meng xushu de yuanliu shanbian jiqi yanjiu," 红楼梦续书的源流嬗变及其研究 [A study of the origins and development of Honglou meng sequels]. Honglou meng xuekan, no. 4 (1992), 323-329.
Zhao Jianzhong 趙建忠. "Honglou meng xushu de yuanliu shanbian jiqi yanjiu." Honglou meng xuekan, no. 4 (1992), 323-329.