Robert E. Hegel

​Professor Emeritus of Chinese Language and Literature
Liselotte Dieckmann Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature
PhD, Columbia University
research interests:
  • narrative forms and conventions in late imperial China (1500-1900)
  • practices of reading and writing
  • book culture
  • literature and ethics
  • legal writing
  • translation studies
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1111
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Hegel is a specialist in Chinese narrative literature of the late imperial period. Before his retirement in 2018, he taught courses on Chinese literature and culture, including the popular Chinese Civilization class, and advanced seminars in late imperial period fiction and theater.

    In recent years Hegel has worked with a number of Washington University alums on translations of several literary forms.  This began with a collection of short stories, Doupeng xianhua 豆棚閒話 published around 1660 by the unidentifiable Aina the Layman, Idle Talk under the Bean Arbor (University of Washington Press, 2017), a collaborative effort with seven Washington University graduates.  With Dr. Shen Jing of Eckerd College, St. Augustine, Florida they published a humorous play by Li Yu (1610-1680), Bimu yu 比目魚 as A Couple of Soles (Columbia University Press, 2020). Dr. Li Qiancheng, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and he collaborated in translating a dense little novel attributed to Dong Tuo (1620-1686) but probably penned by his father, Dong Sizhang (1586-1628), Xiyou bu 西遊補, 1641; as Further Adventures on the Journey to the West (University of Washington Press) it appeared late in 2020. With the assistance of Yang Shuhui (Bates College) and Yang Yunqin (a UN interpreter) he is finishing a translation of the long 1633 novel Sui shi yiwen 隋史遺文, Forgotten Tales of the Sui, by Yuan Yuling (1599-1674). He also continues to explore the early history of the novel in China, focusing on developments during the late sixteenth century.