Sanders, Graham

Graham Sanders (Ph.D., Harvard University)       
Associate Professor
Department of East Asian Studies
Office Location: Larkin Building (Trinity) #320

I am fascinated with the portrayal of the composition, performance and reception of poetry in pre-modern China—especially in anecdotal narratives—as a way of enriching our understanding of how poetic practice was envisioned in the Chinese tradition. In my research, I range from the pre-Qin through the Tang dynasties and I am currently working on a multi-year project on the poetry and life of a Tang poet named Meng Jiao 孟郊 (751-814), which will result in a website devoted to his work. I also enjoy translation and have recently finished a new edition of Shen Fu’s 沈復 (b. 1763) Six Records of a Floating Life 浮生六記 to be published in 2011. At the undergraduate level, I teach classical Chinese language, and literature survey courses from the pre-Qin through the Qing eras, and more specialized courses in the Pre-Tang and Tang eras at the graduate level.

Academic Background:

  • Ph.D. (1996) in East Asian Language and Civilizations, Harvard University. Mellon Fellow (1990-1996)
  • B.A. (1990) in Chinese Studies, University of Toronto

Major Publications:

  • Shen Fu. Six Records of a Floating Life. Translated with an Introduction by Graham Sanders. Cambridge, Mass.: Hackett Publishing Company, Sep 2011. (
  • Entry for “Yuefu” (Music Bureau Poetry) in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Forthcoming in 2011.
    “Out With It! Torture and the Aesthetics of Narrative in Chinese Vernacular Stories.” Universitas: Philosophy and Culture 37.3 (Mar 2010), pp. 103-30. (
  • Words Well Put: Visions of Poetic Competence in the Chinese Tradition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2006. (
  • “Chinese Theory and Criticism: Pre-Modern Theories of Fiction and Drama.” In The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, edited by Michael Groden, Martin Kreiswirth and Imre Szeman, 191-198. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. (
  • Doleželová-Velingerová, Milena, Oldrich Král and Graham Sanders, ed. The Appropriation of Cultural Capital: China’s May Fourth Movement. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Asia Center, 2001. (


  • Classical Chinese I
  • Chinese Lit. I: Pre-Qin to Tang
  • Chinese Lit. II: Song-Qing
  • Chinese Poetry I
  • Chinese Poetry II
  • Approaches to East Asia
  • Beyond Orientalism