David R. Knechtges
|David R. Knechtges|
October 23, 1942|
Great Falls, Montana, United States
|Fields||Fu (poetry), Han Dynasty and Six Dynasties literature|
University of Washington|
University of Washington|
|Doctoral advisor||Hellmut Wilhelm|
|Other academic advisors||
James Robert Hightower |
K. C. Hsiao
Robert Joe Cutter|
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. 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Works cited
- Knechtges, David R. (1992). "Hellmut Wilhelm, Sinologue and Teacher". Oriens Extremus. 35: 19–21. JSTOR 24047216.
- Audio of David Knechtges' lecture "How to View a Mountain in Medieval China" delivered at the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities on April 28, 2009.