Universiteit Leiden

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Maghiel van Crevel

Professor of Chinese Language and Literature

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

Maghiel van Crevel is a professor of Chinese language and literature at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Maghiel van Crevel

CV & full list of publications (pdf)

Fields of interest

My fields of interest include (Chinese) literature and culture, translation, language and language acquisition. 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 textual analysis as well as regular fieldwork in China undertaken since 1991, my work also draws on the history, sociology and anthropology of literature and on translation studies.


I 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 and the long essay inspired by my fieldwork, the items listed below are all books. My journal publications include numerous articles and translations, in English, Chinese, and Dutch, in specialized journals and general media such as Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, 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

  • Walk on the Wild Side: Snapshots of the Chinese Poetry Scene” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture MCLC Resource Center, 2017 (a long essay reporting and reflecting on my fieldwork)
  • 《精神与金钱时代的中国诗歌:从 1980年代到世纪初》[Poetry in Times of Mind and Money: From the 1980s to the Early 21st Century], translated by Zhang Xiaohong 张晓红 in collaboration with the author, Beijing: Peking University Press, 2017.
  • Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem, and Money (free download), Leiden: Brill, 2008, with a Chinese citations supplement (ibid), MCLC resource center, 2017; translated as Jingshen yu jinqian shidai de Zhongguo shige: cong 1980 niandai dao 21 shiji chu by Zhang Xiaohong in collaboration with the author, Beijing: Peking University Press, 2017
  • Language Shattered: Contemporary Chinese Poetry and Duoduo (free download), Leiden: CNWS, 1996

Online resources for research and education

Edited volumes

  • Chinese Poetry and Translation: Rights and Wrongs (free download), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019 (first editor, with Lucas Klein)
  • 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 [Chinese in Ten Storeys], 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
  • Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research
  • Discipline and Place in the Humanities and the Social Sciences
  • The Many Faces of Translation: Language, Culture, Power, Art
  • Chinese-Dutch and Chinese-English literary translation
  • Mandarin (various levels and modalities)

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 awarded in 2018
  • Wu Jinhua, Education and Poetic Identity in Contemporary Chinese Poetry, degree awarded in 2020, with Gabrielle van den Berg
  • Yang Lan-yi, Chinese ‘Poetry of the Nineties’, degree awarded in 2022, with Gabrielle van den Berg
  • Peng Wenxuan, “Pop-Cultural Representations of Lesbianism in China,” with Eliza Steinbock and Florian Schneider
  • Jiang Ye, Chinese Fanfictions of the English World, degree expected in 2023, with Ernst van Alphen

  • Liu Shuang, Representations of Migrant Workers in Contemporary Chinese Fiction, degree expected in 2023, with Svetlana Kharchenkova

  • Shang Zheyu, The Game between the I-Generation and the Cyberspace Administration in China, degree expected in 2023, with Florian Schneider and Roger Creemers

  • Anne Sytske Keijser, Nieh Hua-ling’s Fiction, degree expected in 2024, with Wilt Idema

  • Ye Yunnan, The Development of Chinese Labor Migration and Entrepreneurship in the GCC States, degree expected in 2025, with Crystal Ennis and Tsolin Nalbantian

  • Wang Ying-ting, Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Self-Assessment in Dutch Students of Chinese as a Foreign Language: A Longitudinal Study, degree expected in 2025, with Nivja de Jong and Tessa Mearns

Editorial work

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

Grants, awards, tokens of esteem

  • Featured Scholar in Chinese Literature Today vol 8 no 1 (2019): 102–145
  • 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)

  • Director of Doctoral Studies, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), since 2018
  • Academic Director, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), 20092016
  • Chairperson, executive committee, LeidenGlobal, 20132016
  • Member, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Board, 20092016
  • Member, Humanities Council, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), 20042007
  • Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Committee for the coordination of scientific and educationary contacts with China, 20022004
  • Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) committee on “little-studied” languages and civilizations, 20012002
  • Board Member, Leiden University Research School for Asian, Amerindian, and African Studies (CNWS), 19992002
  • 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, 20002002 and 20062009
  • Advisor to Poetry International Rotterdam, since 1987

Professor of Chinese Language and Literature

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS China

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 2.58




  • Various media, publishers and other organizations (NGOs, festivals etc) Occasional lectures, publications, translation and interpreting, consultancy
  • Hulsewe-Wazniewski Foundation Secretary to the Board
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