Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Maghiel van Crevel

Professor of Chinese Language and Literature

Prof.dr. M. van Crevel
+31 71 527 2211

CV & full list of publications (pdf)

Fields of interest

My fields of interest include (Chinese) literature and culture, language, language acquisition, and translation. My research specialization lies in contemporary Chinese poetry. There was poetry before there was Chinese: this proposition is defensible as a general claim, and it definitely holds for my personal development as a scholar. I like to think of my research as three-dimensional: text (poems), context (socio-political surroundings) and metatext (discourse on poetry). Building on extensive fieldwork, it combines textual, historical, and sociological analysis to address questions for which beauty is not a way out, but a way in, and whose scope extends beyond poetry to other areas of culture.


I am willing to supervise MA projects in modern Chinese literature and in modern Chinese cultural production at large, and PhD projects in modern Chinese literature. For both MA and PhD students, I welcome projects that address issues of broadly defined (cultural) translation, and projects that focus on cultural production's interfaces with history, politics, society and so on.



  • PhD in Chinese Language and Literature, Leiden University (1996)
  • MA in Chinese Studies, Leiden University (1987)
  • China-Netherlands MoE exchange student, Peking University (1986-1987)
  • Netherlands-America Commission for Educational Exchange exchange student, Augsburg College (1981-1982)


  • Full Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Leiden University (since 1999)
  • Lecturer in Chinese Studies, University of Sydney (1996-1999)
  • Mandarin instructor, Leiden University (1995-1996)
  • Mandarin instructor, Leiden University (1990-1991)
  • Research assistant, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen (1988-1989)

Key publications

With the exception of the online research tools, the items listed below are all books. Journal publications include numerous articles and translations, in English, Chinese, and Dutch, in specialized journals and general media such as Modern Chinese Literature, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, The Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, Tamkang Review, Studies on Asia, minima sinica, Renditions, Shi tansuo, Dangdai zuojia pinglun, Xinshi pinglun, Jintian, Volkskrant, NRC, Trouw, De Groene Amsterdammer, de revisor, Raster, Armada, De Gids, Het trage vuur.

Authored monographs

Online research tools

Edited volumes

  • Chinese Poetry and Translation: Moving the Goalposts, special double issue of the Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (14.2–15.1), 2017.
  • Text, Performance, and Gender in Chinese Literature and Music: Essays in Honor of Wilt Idema, Leiden: Brill, 2009 (first editor, with Tianyuan Tan and Michel Hockx)


  • editor of Ans van Broekhuizen-De Rooij, Inez Kretzschmar and Fresco Sam-Sin Chinees in tien verdiepingen: Mandarijn voor het Voortgezet Onderwijs [Chinese in Ten Storeys: High School Mandarin], Vols 1 and 2, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008-2009; since acquired by Leiden University Press and regularly reprinted
  • with Lin Chin-hui, Paint Feet on a Snake: An Intermediate Mandarin Reader, simplified and full-form character editions, Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2015 


  • Ho-lan hsien-tai shih-hsüan [Anthology of Modern Dutch Poetry], Taipei: Taiyuan jijinhui, 2001 (with Ma Gaoming and Ku Pi-ling: expanded edition of 1988 Helan xiandai shixuan)
  • Bei Dao, Landschap boven nul [Landscape over Zero], Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 2001 (poetry)
  • Duoduo, Er is geen nieuwe dag [There Is No Dawn], Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1996 (poetry)
  • Duoduo, Ik begrijp het niet [I Don’t Understand], Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1996 (essays, with Michel Hockx)
  • Duoduo, Tatouages [Tattoos], Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1995 (short stories, with Michel Hockx)
  • Duoduo, Een schrijftafel in de velden [A Writing-Table in the Fields], Amsterdam, Meulenhoff, 1991 (poetry)
  • Een onafzienbaar ogenblik: Chinese dichters van nu [Moment with No End in Sight: Chinese Poets Today], Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1990 (with Lloyd Haft)
  • Bei Dao, Golven [Waves], Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1989 (novel)
  • Helan xiandai shixuan [Anthology of Modern Dutch Poetry], with Ma Gaoming, Guilin: Lijiang, 1988; second edition in 2005, by Guangxi shifan danxue


Courses include:

  • Introduction to Chinese Literature and Art
  • Chinese Literature: Prose through the Ages
  • Chinese Literature: Theater and Poetry through the Ages
  • Literary Worlds of Modern China
  • The Yan’an Talks and Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature
  • Modern Chinese Poetry
  • Chinese Literature and Exile
  • Mandarin (various levels and modalities)
  • Chinese-Dutch and Chinese-English literary translation
  • Theory and Issues in Area Studies
  • Discipline and Place in the Humanities and the Social Sciences

PhD supervision

  • Zhang Xiaohong, The Invention of a Discourse: Women’s Poetry from Contemporary China, degree awarded in 2004 (with Douwe Fokkema and Mineke Schipper-de Leeuw)
  • Mark Leenhouts, Leaving the World to Enter the World: Han Shaogong and Chinese Root-Seeking Fiction, degree awarded in 2005 (with Lloyd Haft)
  • Michael Day, China's Second World of Poetry: The Sichuan Avant-Garde, 1982-1992, degree awarded in 2005
  • Paul van Els, The Wenzi: Philology, Philosophy, Intertextuality, degree awarded in 2006 (with Carine Defoort)
  • Silvia Marijnissen, From Transparency to Artificiality: Modern Chinese Poetry from Taiwan after 1949, degree awarded in 2008 (with Lloyd Haft)
  • Paramita Paul, Wandering Saints: Chan Eccentrics in the Art and Culture of Song and Yuan China, degree awarded in 2009 (with Oliver Moore)
  • Jeroen Groenewegen, The Performance of Identity in Chinese Popular Music, degree awarded in 2011 (with Wim van der Meer)
  • Lena Scheen, Writing Shanghai: Urban Experience in Contemporary Chinese Fiction, degree awarded in 2013
  • Audrey Heijns, Translating China: Dutch Sinologist Henri Borel, degree awarded in 2016 (with Barend ter Haar)

  • Chan Pui-lun, Periphery Matters: Peking Opera in Hong Kong, degree awarded in 2017 (with Wilt Idema)

  • Joanna Krenz, Essayization and Emigration in Contemporary Chinese Literature, degree expected 2018

  • Anne Sytske Keijser, Nieh Hua-ling’s Fiction, degree expected in 2018 (with Wilt Idema)

  • Wu Jinhua, Education and Poetic Identity in Contemporary Chinese Poetry, degree expected in 2018 (with Gabrielle van den Berg)

  • Yang Lan-yi, Chinese ‘Poetry of the Nineties’, degree expected in 2018 (with Gabrielle van den Berg)

Editorial work

  • Series editor, with Barend ter Haar, of Sinica Leidensia, Brill Publishers, since 2009

Grants and awards

  • Hanban Understanding China fellowship, December 2016 to May 2017 (RMB 60,000)
  • Rougang Poetry Award 柔刚诗歌奖, 2013 (RMB 10,000), for contributions to scholarship on Chinese poetry
  • Netherlands Organization for Scientitic Research (NWO) write-up grant, 2003 (EUR 18,240)
  • Netherlands Organization for Scientitic Research (NWO) Talent Stipend, 1996 (EUR 35,000, predecessor to the Rubicon grant scheme; declined when appointed lecturer at the University of Sydney)
  • Leiden University four-year full PhD Funding, 1991-1995
  • Nederlands Letterenfonds, translation grants, 1988-1997 (appr EUR 10,000)

Administration and service to the profession (selection)

  • Academic Director, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), 2009-2016
  • Chairperson, executive committee, LeidenGlobal, 2013-2016
  • Member, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Board, 2009-2016
  • Member, Humanities Council, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), 2004-2007
  • Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Committee for the coordination of scientific and educationary contacts with China, 2002-2004
  • Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) committee on “little-studied” languages and civilizations, 2001-2002
  • Board Member, Leiden University Research School for Asian, Amerindian, and African Studies (CNWS), 1999-2002
  • Secretary to the Hulsewé-Wazniewski Foundation for the Advancement of the Study of Chinese Archeology, Art and Material Culture at Leiden University (HWS), since 1999
  • Head of Chinese Studies, Leiden University, 2000-2002 and 2006-2009
  • Advisor to Poetry International Rotterdam, since 1987

Professor of Chinese Language and Literature

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS China

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 1.03b



  • Brill Publishers Editor for modern culture, Sinica Leidensia book series
  • Hulsewe-Wazniewski Foundation Secretary to the Board
  • Various media, publishers and other organizations (NGOs, festivals etc) Occasional lectures, publications, translation and interpreting, consultancy

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