Stephen Owen

James Bryant Conant University Professor, Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus

Stephen Owen

Bio

Stephen Owen (宇文所安) is a sinologist specializing in premodern literature, lyric poetry, and comparative poetics. Much of his work has focused on the middle period of Chinese literature (200-1200), however, he has also written on literature of the early period and the Qing. Owen has written or edited dozens of books, articles, and anthologies in the field of Chinese literature, especially Chinese poetry, including An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911 (Norton, 1996); The Making of Early Chinese Classical Poetry (Harvard Asia Center, 2006); and The Late Tang: Chinese Poetry of the Mid-Ninth Century (827-860) (Harvard Asia Center, 2006). Owen has completed the translation of the complete poetry of Du Fu, which was published as the inaugural volumes of the Library of Chinese Humanities series, featuring Chinese literature in translation. Owen earned a B.A. (1968) and a Ph.D. (1972) in Chinese Language from Yale University. He taught there from 1972 to 1982, before coming to Harvard. In acknowledgment of his groundbreaking work that crosses the boundaries of multiple disciplines, Owen was awarded the James Bryant Conant University Professorship in 1997. He has been a Fulbright Scholar, held a Guggenheim Fellowship, and received a Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award (2006) among many other awards and honors. 

Selected Publications

Books

  • Stephen Owen. 1975. The Poetry of Meng Chiao and Han Yu, Pp. 294. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Stephen Owen. 1981. The Great Age of Chinese Poetry: the High Tang, Pp. 440. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Stephen Owen. 1985. Traditional Chinese Poetry and Poetics: an Omen of the World, Pp. 303. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Stephen Owen. 1986. Remembrances: the Experience of the Past in Classical Chinese Literature, Pp. 147. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Stephen Owen. 1992. Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, Pp. 670. Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies Harvard University. 
  • Stephen Owen. 1996. The End of the Chinese “Middle Ages”: Essays in Mid-Tang Literary Culture, Pp. 209. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Stephen Owen. 1996. An Anthology of Chinese Literature, Pp. 1256. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Stephen Owen. 2002. Tashande shitou ji 他山之石頭記, Pp. 353. Nanjing, China: Jiangsu renim chubanshe.
  • Stephen Owen. 2006. The Making of Early Classical Poetry, Pp. 360. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.
  • Stephen Owen. 2006. The Late Tang: Chinese Poetry of the Mid-Ninth Century, Pp. 596. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.
  • Stephen Owen. 2019. Just a Song: Chinese Lyrics from the Eleventh and Early Twelfth Centuries, Pp. 420. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Asia Center.
  • Stephen Owen. 2017. The Poetry of Ruan Ji. Boston, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 
  • Stephen Owen. 2015. The Poetry of Du Fu. Boston, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Recent Articles and Chapters

  • 2022. All Mine: Happiness, Ownership, and Naming in Eleventh-Century China, Pp. 197. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • 2020. Thinking Through Poetry: Du Fu’s “Getting Rid of the Blues.” In Reading Du Fu: Nine Views, Pp. 27-40. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • 4/2019. The Future of China’s Past. In China Questions: Critical Insights Into a Rising Power. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • 2018. Poetry and Authorship: The Songs of Chu (Chuci) In How to Read Chinese Poetry in Context, Pp. 30-47. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. 
  • Stephen Owen Sheldon and Poloc. 2018. Sorting Out Babel: Literature and its Changing Languages In What China and India Once Were: The Pasts That May Shape the Global Future. New York, NY: Columbia University Press,
  • Stephen Owen. 2017. How Did Buddhism Matter in Tang Poetry? T’oung Pao, 103, 4-5, Pp. 388-406. 
  • 2017. Sanbian Liu Yong yu qiwude Renzong (The Changing Face of Liu Yong and Dancing Renzong) In Chuanhe Kangsan jiaoshou rongxiu jinian wenji 川合康三教授榮休紀念文集, Pp. 241-263. Nanjing: Fenghuang chubanshe.
  •  2016. Synecdoche of the Imaginary In The Rhetoric of Hiddenness in Traditional Chinese Culture, Pp. 261-277. Albany, NY: University of New York Press.
  • Stephen Owen. 11/2015. Returning to the High Tang In Hume Lecture. Yale University, New Haven, CT.
  • 2015. Jiangnan from the Ninth Century On: The Routinization of Desire In Southern Identity and Southern Estrangement in Medieval Chinese Poetry, Pp. 189-206. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • 2015. Who Wrote That? Attribution in Northern Song Ci In Reading Medieval Chinese Poetry: Text, Context, and Culture, Pp. 202-220. Leiden: Brill. 
  • 9/29/2014. Postface: Believe it or Not In Idle Talk: Gossip and Anecdote in Traditional China, Pp. 217-224. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • 2012. Poetry. In The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 4th ed., Pp. 1065-1068. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

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