Eliot Circular

Chinese Major Wins Unrue Award

By Chris Lydgate '90

Chinese major Joan Guldin ’15 won the newly-minted John Gregory Unrue ’84 Memorial Award for her thesis, “Abandoned Trails and False Peaks: A Journey Through the Xiyouji.” Her adviser, Prof. Hyong Rhew [1988–], praised Joan’s thesis as an “original work with masterful reading and beautiful writing.”

Xiyouji, also known in English as The Journey to the West, is a 17th-century Chinese novel about a pilgrimage to the “Western Heaven” to obtain Buddhist scriptures. Joan combed through early records to trace historical and literary depictions of one of its main characters, the monk Tripitaka. In the course of her research, she also translated an early chantefable which had never before been translated into English—“a remarkable achievement,” according to Prof. Rhew. (We suspect it is no coincidence that Joan also recently organized a Reed expedition to the summit of Mount Hood.) 

The Unrue award recognizes outstanding work in the Division of Literature and Languages and comes with a prize of $2,500. It was created with a gift from John and Darlene Unrue in memory of their son Greg Unrue ’84, who died in 2008.