David R. Knechtges

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David R. Knechtges
David R. Knechtges 2011.png
Born 1942 (age 72–73)
Great Falls, Montana, United States
Nationality American
Fields Fu (poetry), Han Dynasty and Six Dynasties literature
Institutions University of Washington
Yale University
Harvard University
Alma mater University of Washington (B.A., Ph.D)
Harvard University (M.A.)
Doctoral advisor Hellmut Wilhelm
Other academic advisors James Robert Hightower
K.C. Hsiao
Li Fang-Kuei
Notable students Stephen Owen
Spouse Tai-ping Chang (張泰平)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 康達維
Simplified Chinese 康达维

David Richard Knechtges (born 1942) is an American sinologist and scholar, and a professor emeritus of Chinese literature at the University of Washington. An expert on Han dynasty and Six dynasties period literature, Knechtges' studies of Chinese fu poetry are largely responsible for the revival of Western academic interest in the subject, a major genre which had become largely neglected until the mid-20th century.

Life and career[edit]

David Knechtges was born in Great Falls, Montana, but grew up in Kirkland, Washington. After graduating from Lake Washington High School in 1960, Knechtges earned a B.A. in Chinese from the University of Washington in 1964, then went to Harvard University for graduate study in Chinese, where he received an A.M. in 1965. He then returned to the University of Washington for his Ph.D., which he earned in 1968 with a dissertation entitled "Yang Shyong, the Fuh, and Hann Rhetoric", a study of the fu rhapsodies of Han dynasty writer and scholar Yang Xiong. After receiving his Ph.D., Knechtges taught at Harvard and then Yale University for several years before joining Washington's Asian Languages and Literature faculty in 1972, where he taught for 42 years until his retirement in 2014.[1]

Knechtges has written or edited a number of books on ancient Chinese literature, and is best known for his ongoing translation of the Wen xuan (Selections of Refined Literature), a major collection of early Chinese literature, which is the work's first ever full translation into English. His wife, Tai-ping Chang Knechtges, is an affiliate assistant professor at Washington, and often serves as Knechtges' co-editor. They have one daughter together.

In 2006, Knechtges was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Selected Works[edit]

  • Knechtges, David R. (1968). Yang Shyong, the Fuh, and Hann Rhetoric. Ph.D. dissertation (University of Washington).
  • ——— (1976). The Han Rhapsody: A Study of the Fu of Yang Hsiung (53 BC – AD 18). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • ——— (1982). Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, Volume One: Rhapsodies on Metropolises and Capitals. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 
  • ——— (1982). The Han Shu Biography of Yang Xiong (53 BC – AD 18). Tempe: Center for Asian Studies, Arizona State University. 
  • ——— (1987). Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, Volume Two: Rhapsodies on Sacrifices, Hunts, Travel, Palaces and Halls, Rivers and Seas. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 
  • ——— (1996). Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, Volume Three: Rhapsodies on Natural Phenomena, Birds and Animals, Aspirations and Feelings, Sorrowful Laments, Literature, Music, and Passions. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 
  • ———, trans. Gong, Kechang 龔克昌 (1997). Studies on the Han Fu [Han fu yanjiu 漢賦研究]. American Oriental Series 84. New Haven: American Oriental Society. 
  • ——— (2002). Court Culture and Literature in Early China. Variorum Collected Studies Series. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. 
  • ———; Kroll, Paul, eds. (2003). Studies in Early Medieval Chinese Literature and Cultural History: In Honor of Richard B. Mather and Donald Holzman. Provo, Utah: T'ang Studies Society.
  • ———; Vance, Eugene, eds. (2005). Rhetoric and the Discourses of Power in Court Culture: China, Europe, and Japan. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • ——— (2010). "From the Eastern Han through the Western Jin (AD 25–317)". In Owen, Stephen. The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature, Volume 1: To 1375. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 116–98. 
  • ———, ed. (2012). The History of Chinese Civilisation, 4 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ———; Chang, Taiping, eds. (2010-14). Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference Guide. 4 vols. Leiden: E.J. Brill.


External links[edit]