Wilt L. Idema obtained his BA and MA from Leiden University. Following continued study in Sapporo (at Hokkaido University) and in Kyoto (at Kyoto University), and research in Hong Kong (at the Universities Service Center), he returned to Leiden, where he taught in the Department of Chinese Language and Culture. He obtained his doctorate in 1974, and was promoted to Professor of Chinese Literature and Linguistics in 1976. Since 2000, he has been teaching at Harvard as Professor of Chinese Literature. Wilt Idema's research initially was focused on the early development of Chinese vernacular fiction (Chinese Vernacular Fiction: The Formative Period, 1974), but later shifted more towards early Chinese drama (Chinese Theater 1100-1450, A Source Book, with Stephen West; 1982; The Dramatic Oeuvre of Chu Yu-tun (1379-1439), 1985; Wang Shifu, The Moon and the Zither: The Story of the Western Wing, with Stephen H. West, 1992). In recent years he also has published on Chinese women's literature of the premodern period (The Red Brush: Writing Women of Imperial China, with Beata Grant, 2004). His current research is focused on China's rich tradition of popular narrative ballads. He is also the author, with Lloyd Haft, of A Guide to Chinese Literature (1997). For his voluminous Dutch-language translations, especially of classical Chinese poetry, he received the Martinus Nijhof Award for 1991, the highest distinction for literary translations in the Netherlands.