Brian Steininger

Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies
Email Address:
Office Location: 
201A Jones Hall

On leave 2018-2019

  • Ph.D. in East Asian Languages & Literatures, Yale University
  • B.A. in English and Asian Studies, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Macalester College (MN)

Brian Steininger studies the literature of early and medieval Japan, with particular interest in the reception of Chinese texts. He has studied at Macalester College, the University of Tokyo, and Keio University, and earned his Ph.D. from Yale University. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2013, he taught at Bates College (Lewiston, Maine).

Steininger’s research treats the applications of Chinese literature and scholarship in Japan. His first book, Chinese Literary Forms in Heian Japan: Poetics and Practice (forthcoming, Harvard University Asia Center) treats the composition of parallel prose and regulated verse by Japanese officials in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Reconstructing the circulation of literary documents as tokens of exchange and ritual performances, it analyzes how universalized aesthetic principles were reinterpreted in accordance with the exigencies of quotidian practice. Steininger’s current project, Following the Gloss: The Medieval Japanese Book as History, draws on manuscript evidence to uncover networks of Sinological scholarship in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Social reconfiguration, booming foreign trade, and developments in local printing produced an epochal turning point in knowledge and the circulation of texts in Japan.

Publications List: 
  • Chinese Literary Forms in Heian Japan: Poetics and Practice (forthcoming, Harvard University Asia Center)
  • “The Heian Academy: literati culture from Minamoto no Shitagō to Ōe no Masafusa,” The Cambridge History of Japanese Literature, ed. Shirane, Suzuki, and Lurie (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 176–183.
  • “Li Jiao’s Songs: Commentary-Based Reading and the Reception of Tang Poetry in Heian Japan,” East Asian Publishing and Society 6.2 (2016): 103–29.