David R. Knechtges

David R. Knechtges
Born (1942-10-23) October 23, 1942
Great Falls, Montana, United States
Fields Fu (poetry), Han Dynasty and Six Dynasties literature
Institutions University of Washington
Yale University
Harvard University
Alma mater University of Washington
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Hellmut Wilhelm
Other academic advisors James Robert Hightower
K. C. Hsiao
Li Fang-Kuei
Notable students Robert Joe Cutter
Stephen Owen
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 康達維
Simplified Chinese 康达维

David Richard Knechtges (born October 23, 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.

Knechtges is best known for his ongoing translation of the early Chinese literary anthology Selections of Refined Literature (Wen xuan 文選), its first ever full translation into English.

Life and career

David Knechtges was born on October 23, 1942, in Great Falls, Montana, and grew up in Kirkland, Washington. Knechtges attended Lake Washington High School, graduating in 1960. Knechtges originally intended to study biology or chemistry, but while in high school happened to attend a presentation given at his school by the German sinologist Hellmut Wilhelm on two well-known Chinese novels the students had been assigned to read: The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, and Rickshaw Boy by Lao She.[1] He was fascinated and impressed by Wilhelm's knowledge and presentation, and soon decided to change his academic focus to Chinese history, language, and literature.[1]

Knechtges entered the University of Washington in the autumn of 1960 and graduated with a B.A. magna cum laude in Chinese in 1964, then went to Harvard University for graduate study in Chinese, receiving an A.M. in 1965. He then returned to the University of Washington for doctoral study under Wilhelm's guidance, and received a Ph.D. 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.[2]

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


Works cited

External links

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