Reseacher/Information page

Nicholas Morrow Williams-Adjunct Associate Professor
Ph.D. in Chinese Literature, University of Washington



· Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong (2019–)


· Editor, Tang Studies (2016–)




· Assistant Professor of Chinese Literature, School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong (2016–2019)

· Assistant Professor, Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology, Hong Kong Baptist University (2015–2016); Associate Editor, Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology (2014–2016)

· Research Assistant Professor, Mr. Simon Suen and Mrs. Mary Suen Sino- Humanitas Institute, Hong Kong Baptist University (2012–2015)

· Assistant Professor of Translation and Literature, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2010–2012 )




· 2010 Ph.D. in Chinese Literature, University of Washington

· 2006 M.A. in Chinese Literature, University of Washington

· 2003 A.B. in Mathematics, Harvard University






1. Imitations of the Self: Jiang Yan and Chinese Poetics. Leiden: Brill, 2015. Sinica Leidensia volume 118.

2. Southern Identity and Southern Estrangement in Medieval Chinese Poetry. Co-edited with Wang Ping. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2015.

3. The Residue of Dreams: Selected Poems of Jao Tsung-i. Translations with scholarly introduction and annotation. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell East Asia Series, 2016.

4. The Fu Genre of Imperial China: Studies in the Rhapsodic Imagination. Sole editor. Leeds, U.K.: Arc Humanities Press, 2019. Distributed by Amsterdam University Press. East Meets West: East Asia and its Periphery from 200 BCE to 1600 CE series.

5. Elegies of Chu: An Anthology of Poetic Masterpieces from Ancient China. Under contract for Oxford World Classics series, published by Oxford University Press.




1. “A Conversation in Poems: Xie Lingyun, Xie Huilian, and Jiang Yan.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 127.4 (2008): 491–506.

2. “The Half-Life of Half-Rhyme.” Early Medieval China 17 (2011): 22–50.

3. “The Metaphysical Lyric of the Six Dynasties.” T’oung Pao 98.1-3 (2012): 65–112.

4. “Self-Portrait as Sea Anemone, and Other Impersonations of Jiang Yan.”

Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 34 (2012): 131–57.

5. “Pan Yue’s ‘Study of a Widow’ and Its Predecessors.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 132.3 (2012): 347–65.

6.  “The Taste of the Ocean: Jiaoran’s Theory of Poetry.” Tang Studies 31 (2013): 87– 113.

7. “Irony and Death in the Writings of Liu Zhen.” Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology 1 (2014): 325–52.

8. “Li Bai’s ‘Rhapsody on the Hall of Light’: A Singular Vision of Cosmic Order.”

T’oung Pao 101.1–3 (2015): 35–97.

9. “Literary Controversy at the Liang Court Revisited.” Early Medieval China 21 (2015): 63–92.

10. “Angelo Zottoli’s Cursus Litteraturæ Sinicæ as Propaedeutic to Chinese Classical Tradition.” Monumenta Serica 63.2 (2015): 327–59.

11.  “Being Alive: Doctrine versus Experience in the Writings of Yamanoue no Okura.” Sino-Japanese Studies 23 (2016): 60–115.

12. “Quasi-Phantasmal Flowers: An Aspect of Wang Wei’s Mahāyāna Poetics.” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 39 (2017): 27–53.

13. “Tropes of Entanglement and Strange Loops in the ‘Nine Avowals’ of the Chuci.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 81.2 (2018): 277–300.

14. “Real Words Are Not Vain: Reading Witter Bynner’s Laozi Translation as Creative Interpretation.” Translation Quarterly 88 (2018): 85–115.

15. “ ‘Roaming the Infinite’: Liu Xiang as Chuci Reader and Would-be Transcendent.”

Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Literature 20 (2018): 49–112.

16. “Shamans, Souls, and Soma: Comparative Religion and Early China.” Accepted by

Journal of Chinese Religions.




1. “The Morality of Drunkenness in Chinese Literature of the Third Century C.E.” In Isaac Yue and Siu-fu Tang, eds., Scribes of Gastronomy: Representations of Food and Drink in Imperial Chinese Literature, 27–43. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2013.

2. “Southland as Symbol.” Coauthored with Wang Ping. In coedited volume Southern Identity and Southern Estrangement in Medieval Chinese Poetry (A2), 1–18.

3. “The Pity of Spring: A Southern Topos Reimagined by Wang Bo and Li Bai.” In coedited volume Southern Identity and Southern Estrangement in Medieval Chinese Poetry (A2), 137–63.

4. “Lu Ji ji” 陸機集. In Cynthia L. Chennault, et al., ed., Six Dynasties Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, 188–92. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015.

5. “Pan Yue ji” 潘岳集. In Six Dynasties Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, 220–24.

6.  “The Book of Songs: Form and Structure.” Coauthored with Chen Zhi. F.-H. Mutschler, ed., The Homeric Epics and the Chinese Book of Songs: Foundational Texts Compared, 255–82. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018.

7. “Introduction: The Rhapsodic Imagination.” In The Fu Genre (A4), 1–15.

8. “The Metaphysical Rhapsody of the Six Dynasties.” In The Fu Genre (A4), 113–39.

9. “Sublimating Sorrow: How to Embrace Contradiction in Translating the ‘Li sao.’” In Chinese Poetry and Translation: Rights and Wrongs, ed. van Crevel and Klein, 181–99. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019.




1. “Two Quasi-Homophonous Texts” 兩篇同音字構成的文章. Zhongguo fanyi

(Chinese Translators Journal) 32 (2011): 90–92.

2. “Zhengming, xuetong, zhiyin: David Knechtges’ Influence on Myself and American Sinology” 正名·學統·知音:康達維對我的啓發及對美國漢學的影響. Guoji Hanxue yanjiu tongxun 9 (2014): 320–29.

3. “Considering the Authenticity of Song Yu’s Works in Light of Dialogic Structures in the Chuci Anthology” 從《楚辭》的對話結構看宋玉作品的真偽問題. In Li Ao 李驁 et al., eds., Song Yu and His Rhapsodies: Second International Conference Volume 宋玉及其辭賦研究:第二屆宋玉國際學術研討會論文集, 70–76. Beijing: Xueyuan chubanshe, 2015.

4. “The Formation of the Utopian Concept of the Pure Land in East Asian Literary Traditions” 淨土烏托邦概念在東亞文學傳統的形成. In Whose Utopia? 500 Years of Reflection and Debate 誰的烏托邦:500 年來的反思與辯證, 267–84. Taipei: Taiwan Normal University Press, 2017.

5. “ ‘Whom Are You Thinking of?’: Unmarked Dialogue in Classical Chinese Poetry and Its Hermeneutical Significance”“云誰之思?”––––中國詩詞中的無標記對話及其詮釋學意義. In Zhang Hongsheng 張宏生, ed., Modern Perspectives on Classical Poetics: Leading Research on Chinese Poetics 古典詩學的現代觀照

———中國詩學研究前沿國際論壇論文集, 1–28. Nanjing: Fenghuang

chubanshe, 2018.

6. “Kūkai at Prayer: Esoteric Buddhism and Kanbun Rhetoric in a Ganmon Text” 祈祷する弘法大師:密教と漢文学の間にある願文. The Trajectory of Japanese Kanbun: On Methodology, Achievements, and Possibility 日本漢文学の射程:その方法、達成と可能性に関する, 238–58. Co-edited by Wang Xiaolin and Maki Senjurō. Tokyo: Kyūko shoin, 2019.



1. “Readings New and Old of Tao Yuanming.” Double review of Swartz, Reading Tao Yuanming: Shifting Paradigms of Historical Reception (427–1900), and Ashmore, The Transport of Reading: Text and Understanding in the World of Tao Qian (365–427). China Review International 18.3 (2011): 294–306.

2. “Sashimi and History: On a New Translation of Du Fu.” China Review International

21.3–4 (2014 [actually published January 2017]): 201–44.

3. “Chinese Poetry and Its Contexts: On Two New Textbooks of Chinese Poetry.”

Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 40 (2018): 125–39.




1. Review of Stumpfeldt, Einundachtzig Han-Gedichte. China Review International 16.3 (2009): 378–82.

2. Review of Goh, Sound and Sight: Poetry and Courtier Culture in the Yongming Era. China Review International 18.3 (2011): 327–32.

3. Review of Beecroft, Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: Patterns of Literary Circulation. China Review International 19.1 (2012): 45–52.

4. Review of Sukhu, The Shaman and the Heresiarch: A New Interpretation of the Li sao. Journal of Chinese Religions 41 (2013): 86–87.

5. Review of Schmidt, The Poet Zheng Zhen (1806–1864) and the Rise of Chinese Modernity. Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology 2 (2015): 413–19.

6. Review of Swartz, et al., Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook. T’oung Pao 101.1–3 (2015): 246–52.

7. Review of Warner, Transmitting Authority: Wang Tong (ca. 584–617) and the Zhongshuo in Medieval Chinese Manuscript Culture. Journal of the American Oriental Society 136.1 (2016): 149–51.

8. Review of Li, Women and National Trauma in Late Imperial Chinese Literature. Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology 3 (2016): 371–76.

9. Review of Nagata, Tōdai no bungaku riron: “fukko” to “sōshin” 唐代の文学理論:

「復古」と「創新」. Tang Studies 34 (2016): 128–32.

10. Review of Höckelmann, Li Deyu (787–850): Religion und Politik in der Tang-Zeit. Tang Studies 35 (2017): 120–23.

11. Review of Yang, Dialectics of Spontaneity: The Aesthetics and Ethics of Su Shi (1037–1101) in Poetry. Frontiers of Literary Studies in China 12 (2018): 704–8.




1. Seven chapters in Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty (The Culture & Civilization of China). New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.

2. Three chapters in Chinese Silks (The Culture & Civilization of China). New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.

3. Thirteen chapters in Yuan Xingpei, et al., The History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. English text edited by David R. Knechtges.

4. Review by Sun Changwu of Knechtges and Chang, Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference Guide, Part One. T’oung Pao 98.4–5 (2012): 590–93.

5. Cheng Yu-yu, “A New Discourse on ‘Lament For The South’ in the Fu of the Ming- Qing Transition.” In A4, The Fu Genre, 187–222.




2019 Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship (12 months, ~6 million JPY):

“Chinese Rhetoric and the Route to Enlightenment in Kūkai’s Sangō shiiki”

2018 General Research Fund (GRF): “Reexamining the Nexus of Buddhist Thought

and Chinese Rhetoric in Heian Japan” (36 months, HK$298,581)

2015 General Research Fund (GRF): “The Ideological Origins of High Tang Poetry”

(24 months, HK$219,000)

2007 Fulbright scholarship for dissertation research at National Taiwan University (9





2018 King’s College London–HKU Collaboration Grant (HK$74,000)

2017 Seed Fund for Basic Research at HKU: “Intersecting Influences of Buddhist Thought and Chinese Rhetoric in Classical Japan: A Literary Study of Kūkai’s Sangō shiiki” (18 months, HK$144,947)

2013 Faculty Research Grant (Category II) at HKBU for “Li Bai’s Inheritance: An Interdisciplinary Study of the Literary- Historical and Religious Origins of High Tang Poetry” (HK$95,640)

Faculty Research Grant (Category I) at HKBU for “Preliminary Studies for A New Translation of the Chuci” (HK$40,000)

2012 Start-up Funding for New Academics at HKBU (HK$100,000)

2006 Yen Fu Translation Prize for “The Suffering of Women in Fu of the Jian’an Period” at UW




1. “Translating the Chuci: Old Approaches and New Problems.” Translation Colloquium, Hong Kong Baptist University. November 21, 2013.

2. “Souls in Flight: Hermeneutics of Divination in the Chuci.” Princeton University. December 4, 2013.

3. “The Silences of Heaven and the Poet’s Summons: Liu Zongyuan’s Qu Yuan.” Stanford University. November 4, 2014.

4. “Socialist Love Poetry or Shamanism with Chinese Characteristics? Modern Interpretations of the Ancient Chinese Poem ‘Li sao.’” Transylvania University. March 23, 2015.

5. 「〈天問〉中的先商始祖與詮釋的挑戰」。港澳珠三角地區研究生中國歷史文化研修系列。Hong Kong Polytechnic University. March 23, 2019.

6. 「書闕有間——〈天問〉中的先商始祖與詮釋的挑戰」. Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College, Zhuhai.

April 4, 2019; Taiwan National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. April 19, 2019.

7. “The Topos of the World Upside Down Turned Rightside Up: Liu Xiang and the Evolution of Political Rhetoric in Early China.” Cambridge University. October 17, 2019.

8. Mini-seminar on “Heavenly Questions: Text and Translations, Interpretive Traditions, and Comparative Contexts.” University of Zurich. Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 2019.

9. 『文選』、空海の『三教指帰』、と文化融合のパラドックス. Waseda University. December 10, 2019.

10. 空海の『三教指帰』について――辞賦の文体と密教思想の萌芽. Kyoto University, Chūgoku bungakukai annual meeting, July 18, 2020.




1.  “Heirs of Ancient Cares: Li Bai’s ‘Gu feng’ Poems.” Western Branch of the American Oriental Society. University of California, Los Angeles. October 16–17, 2009.

2. “How Do You Say ‘Poem’ In Classical Chinese?” Western Branch of the American Oriental Society. University of California, Santa Barbara. October 14–15, 2011.

3.  “Souls in Flight: Hermeneutics of Divination in the Chuci.” Invited talk, Princeton University. December 4, 2013.

4.  “The Neoclassical Style in Chinese Poetry: Liu Xiang’s ‘Nine Threnodies.’” Western Branch of the American Oriental Society. Stanford University. October 31–November 1, 2014.

5.  “Reading the ‘Li sao’ as Composite Text.” Society for the Study of Early China Conference, Chicago. March 26, 2015.

6.  “The Reconstitution of the World in 1922: ‘Mending Heaven’ and ‘The Waste Land.’” English Department Seminar Series, Hong Kong Baptist University. December 5, 2016.

7. 〈《楚辭》的占卜詮釋學〉[Reconstructing a Hermeneutics of Divination in the Chuci]. Conference on Religious Practice and Literary Creation, held at Wuhan University. December 16, 2016.

8. 〈關於《楚辭》對宋詞的影響及其詮釋學意義〉[The Soul Materialized: Chuci Imagery in the Song ci]. Workshop on the Transmission and Reading of Texts, City University of Hong Kong. June 3, 2017.

9. “The ‘Summons to the Soul’ as Literary Motif in Seventeenth-Century China.” Western Branch of the American Oriental Society, Arizona State University. October 20, 2017.

10. “That Persistent Scent of Virtue: Reading Echoes of Qu Yuan in the Song Ci

Lyric.” AAS Annual Conference, Washington, DC. March 23, 2018.

11. “Against Tang Poetry.” Conference on Philology and the Study of Classical Chinese Literature: An International Symposium on the Future of Sinology in the 21st Century, held in Boulder, Colo. April 20-21, 2018.

12.  “Kūkai’s Inner Dialogue: The Role of Chinese Literary Genres in the Composition of the Sangō shiiki.” 22nd Asian Studies Conference Japan, International Christian University, Tokyo. June 30–July 1, 2018.

13. “The Topos of the World Turned Upside Down, Turned Upside Down.” Creative Transformation of Chinese Tradition: An International Conference of Chinese Literature, held at Hang Seng University, Hong Kong. November 10–11, 2018.

14. “Shamans, Souls, and Soma: Comparative Religion and Early China.” 文獻學與中國宗教研究新視野 :中國宗教研究青年學者國際論壇, held at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. November 14–15, 2018.

15. “The Tragedy of Formalism: Yu Xin’s ‘Lament for the Southland’ and the

End of Six Dynasties Literature.” Modern Language Association, held in Chicago, Ill. January 6, 2019.

16. “A Lacuna of Cultural Memory: The Case of the Shang Ancestors in “Heavenly Questions.” HKU-KCL Collaborative Research Grant Workshop on Classics and Cultural Memory, held at HKU. February 14, 2019.

17. “Reading Tang Poems as Classical Chinese Poems.” On panel “Problematizing the Periodization of Tang Poetry, at Association for Asian Studies, held in Denver, Colo. March 22, 2019.

18. “Kūkai at Prayer: On the Religious and Literary Rhetoric of a Ganmon.” Esoteric Buddhism and East Asian Society conference, University of British Columbia. March 7–8, 2020.




University of Hong Kong

Introduction to Classical Chinese Literature (B.A. course conducted in Mandarin) Poetry from Selected Periods (B.A. course conducted in Mandarin)

Reading of Classical Chinese Texts: Chuci (B.A. course conducted in Mandarin) Chinese Poetry as Social Critique (Common Core course conducted in English) Global Approaches to Chinese Literature (B.A. course conducted in English)


Hong Kong Baptist University

Western Sinology (Conducted in Mandarin; B.A., M.A. cross-listed course) Greek Mythology and Literature (Conducted in Mandarin; B.A. level) Research Methods and Seminar (Conducted in Mandarin; M.A. level) Research Methods in Sinology (Conducted in Mandarin; postgraduate research level)


Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Translation of Chinese Literature and Thought (B.A. level) Introduction to Translation (B.A. level)

Translation: Text and Context (M.A. level) Translation: Discourse and the Translator (M.A. level) Advanced Translation (M.A. level)

Appreciation of the Four Classic Chinese Novels (General Education course)


University of Washington

History of Chinese Literature (for undergraduates and graduate students) Chinese Poetry in Translation (undergraduate elective)




Current Students

Yu Yuming (PhD) Travis Chan (PhD) Fung Ka Yi (PhD)

Liu Yiusun (MPhil)


Completed Students

· Fung Ka Yi (MPhil, HKU, 2019): 內極才情,外周物理:王夫之《詩經》文學研究

· Travis Chan (MPhil, HKU, 2019): Writing for the Empire: A Study of Ban Gu’s

(32-92 CE) “Dian yin” (Elicitation of the canon)


External Examiner

· Antonio de Caro (PhD, Religion, HKBU, 2019: The Ruist Way of Heaven and the Jesuit Way to Heaven: Cosmogonic Meditations by Fr. Angelo A. Zottoli SJ (Chao Deli 晁德蒞, 1826–1902)

· Zhang Rui (MPhil, Translation, HKU, 2015): 左右手以外的繆思:余光中翻譯話語研究


Internal Examiner

· Zhou Jing (PhD, Music, HKU, 2018): “Adaptation and Appropriation of Central Asian Music at the Tang Court, 620-820”

· Zhu Mengwen (PhD, Chinese, HKU, 2016): “North and South: Remapping the Literary Landscape of Late Sixth-Century China”

· Liu Jixiang (PhD, Translation, HKBU, 2015): 〈表徵、話語、身份──193 6年-1950年中國譯者英譯《道德經》之研究〉





· Member, Executive Committee, Western Branch of the American Oriental Society (2017–2020)

· Editorial Board Member: Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology (2015–),

Zhuzi xuekan (2015–)


· Book manuscript reviewer for Cambria Press, de Gruyter

· Article manuscript reviewer for T’oung Pao, Early Medieval China, Tang Studies, East Asian Publishing and Society, Journal of Oriental Studies, Études Asiatiques, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies

· Organizer of panel “Sensory Pleasures and Perils in Premodern China,” AAS


· Reviewer of research grant proposals for University Grants Committee, Hong Kong (2017–)

· Organizer of conference “Forum on Fu Poetics,” February 27–28, 2016, Hong Kong Baptist University

· Co-organizer of King’s College London–HKU collaborative workshop on

“Classics and Cultural Memory,” February 20, 2019




· School Research Committee (2018–)

· Faculty Admissions Working Group (2019–)

· Faculty Admissions Committee (2016–2018)