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Acting the Right Part

Political Theater and Popular Drama in Contemporary China

by Xiaomei Chen

Acting the Right Part is a cultural history of huaju (modern Chinese drama) from 1966 to 1996. Xiaomei Chen situates her study both in the context of Chinese literary and cultural history and in the context of comparative drama and theater, cultural studies, and critical issues relevant to national theater worldwide. Following a discussion of the marginality of modern Chinese drama in relation to other genres, periods, and cultures, early chapters focus on the dynamic relationship between theater and revolution. Chosen during the Cultural Revolution as the exclusive artistic vehicle to promote proletariat art, "model theater" raises important questions about the complex relationships between women, memory, nation/state, revolution, and visual culture. Throughout this study, Chen argues that dramatic norms inform both theatrical performance and everyday political behavior in contemporary China.

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Advanced Reader of Contemporary Chinese Short Stories

Reflections on Humanity

Compiled Ying Wang and Carrie E. Reed

This reader for advanced students of Chinese presents post-1990 short stories by Su Tong and Yu Hua (whose novels Raise the Red Lantern and To Live served as the basis for internationally acclaimed films), as well as Mianmian, Qui Shanshan, Liu Yunshen, Liang Xiaosheng, Xia Shang, Bi Feiyu, Lu Ping, and Wang Meng. Includes vocabulary lists, grammar and usage examples, and discussion questions.

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The Agent in the Margin

Nayantara Sahgal’s Gandhian Fiction

The Agent in the Margin: Nayantara Sahgal’s Gandhian Fiction is a comprehensive study of the literary works of Nayantara Sahgal, daughter of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit—the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly—and niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. Clara A.B. Joseph introduces Mahatma Gandhi’s political and philosophical to literary analysis and utilizes non-structuralist aspects of Louis Althusser’s theories of ideology to trace how characters marginalized by gender, class, race, and language in Sahgal’s work assume agency, challenging poststructuralist theories of cultural and ideological determinism. She considers how gender complicates autobiography and how the roles of daughter, virgin, wife, widow, and alien serve (often ironically) to highlight human dignity.

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Androgyny in Late Ming and Early Qing Literature

Zuyan Zhou

The frequent appearance of androgyny in Ming and Qing literature has long interested scholars of late imperial Chinese culture. A flourishing economy, widespread education, rising individualism, a prevailing hedonism--all of these had contributed to the gradual disintegration of traditional gender roles in late Ming and early Qing China (1550-1750) and given rise to the phenomenon of androgyny. Now, Zuyan Zhou sheds new light on this important period, offering a highly original and astute look at the concept of androgyny in key works of Chinese fiction and drama from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The work begins with an exploration of androgyny in Chinese philosophy and Ming-Qing culture. Zhou proceeds to examine chronologically the appearance of androgyny in major literary writing of the time, yielding novel interpretations of canonical works from The Plum in the Golden Vase, through the scholar-beauty romances, to The Dream of the Red Chamber. He traces the ascendance of the androgyny craze in the late Ming, its culmination in the Ming-Qing transition, and its gradual phasing out after the mid-Qing. The study probes deviations from engendered codes of behavior both in culture and literature, then focuses on two parallel areas: androgyny in literary characterization and androgyny in literati identity. The author concludes that androgyny in late Ming and early Qing literature is essentially the dissident literati's stance against tyrannical politics, a psychological strategy to relieve anxiety over growing political inferiority.

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Anglophone Poetry in Colonial India, 1780-1913

A Critical Anthology

Mary Ellis Gibson

Anglophone Poetry in Colonial India, 1780–1913: A Critical Anthology makes accessible for the first time the entire range of poems written in English on the subcontinent from their beginnings in 1780 to the watershed moment in 1913 when Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Mary Ellis Gibson establishes accurate texts for such well-known poets as Toru Dutt and the early Indian English poet Kasiprasad Ghose. The anthology brings together poets who were in fact colleagues, competitors, and influences on each other. The historical scope of the anthology, beginning with the famous Orientalist Sir William Jones and the anonymous “Anna Maria” and ending with Indian poets publishing in fin-de-siècle London, will enable teachers and students to understand what brought Kipling early fame and why at the same time Tagore’s Gitanjali became a global phenomenon. Anglophone Poetry in Colonial India, 1780–1913 puts all parties to the poetic conversation back together and makes their work accessible to American audiences.

With accurate and reliable texts, detailed notes on vocabulary, historical and cultural references, and biographical introductions to more than thirty poets, this collection will significantly reshape the understanding of English language literary culture in India. It allows scholars to experience the diversity of poetic forms created in this period and to understand the complex religious, cultural, political, and gendered divides that shaped them.

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Anthology of Kokugaku Scholars

1690 to 1868

by John R. Bentley

Kokugaku “national study” is an academic field of study that spans a number of disciplines, including philology, poetry, literature, linguistics, history, religion, and philosophy. It began as a movement to recapture a sense of Japanese uniqueness, by focusing on Japanese poetic and linguistic elements found in the earliest surviving texts. As the movement grew, there was an attempt to separate native religious elements from Buddhist elements. This expanded to a vigorous attempt to weed out Confucian (and by extension anything “Chinese”) elements from native elements. This began as an investigation into the earliest anthology, Man’yōshū, which some Kokugaku scholars argued preserved a pristine picture of the “true heart” of the ancients. Kokugaku matured under the tutelage of Kamo no Mabuchi and Motoori Norinaga, and expanded to include literary, linguistic, and historical analysis. With the death of Norinaga the philosophy of the movement fractured, and under Hirata native religious elements were amplified, with an advance toward nationalism. This anthology contains 26 essays by 13 influential Kokugaku scholars, covering roughly two centuries of thought, from 1690 down to the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The volume is arranged according to four subjects: poetry, literature, scholarship, and religion/Japan (as a state).

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Appraising Genji

Literary Criticism and Cultural Anxiety in the Age of the Last Samurai

Considered by many to be the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is a masterpiece of narrative fiction rich in plot, character development, and compositional detail. The tale, written by a woman in service to Japan’s imperial court in the early eleventh century, portrays a world of extraordinary romance, lyric beauty, and human vulnerability. Appraising Genji is the first work to bring the rich field of Genji reception to the attention of an English-language audience. Patrick W. Caddeau traces the tale’s place in Japanese culture through diaries, critical treatises, newspaper accounts, cinematic adaptation, and modern stage productions. The centerpiece of this study is a treatise on Genji by Hagiwara Hiromichi (1815–1863), one of the most astute readers of the tale who, after becoming a masterless samurai, embarked on a massive study of Genji. Hiromichi challenged dominant modes of literary interpretation and cherished beliefs about the supremacy of the nation’s aristocratic culture. In so doing, he inspired literary critics and authors as they struggled to articulate theories of fiction and the novel in early modern Japan. Appraising Genji promises to enhance our understanding of one of the greatest literary classics in terms of intellectual history, literary criticism, and the quest of scholars in early modern Japan to define their nation’s place in the world.

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Arranging Marriage

Conjugal Agency in the South Asian Diaspora

Marian Aguiar

The first critical analysis of contemporary arranged marriage among South Asians in a global context

Arranged marriage is an institution of global fascination—an object of curiosity, revulsion, outrage, and even envy. Marian Aguiar provides the first sustained analysis of arranged marriage as a transnational cultural phenomenon, revealing how its meaning has been continuously reinvented within the South Asian diaspora of Britain, the United States, and Canada. Aguiar identifies and analyzes representations of arranged marriage in an interdisciplinary set of texts—from literary fiction and Bollywood films, to digital and print media, to contemporary law and policy on forced marriage.

Aguiar interprets depictions of Asian arranged marriage to show we are in a moment of conjugal globalization, identifying how narratives about arranged marriage bear upon questions of consent, agency, state power, and national belonging. Aguiar argues that these discourses illuminate deep divisions in the processes of globalization constructed on a fault line between individualist and collectivist agency and in the process, critiques neoliberal celebrations of “culture as choice” that attempt to bridge that separation. Aguiar advocates situating arranged marriage discourses within their social and material contexts so as to see past reductive notions of culture and grasp the global forces mediating increasingly polarized visions of agency.

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Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography

Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography explores some of the latest developments in the literary and cultural practices of Canadians of Asian heritage. While earlier work by ethnic, multicultural, or minority writers in Canada was often concerned with immigration, the moment of arrival, issues of assimilation, and conflicts between generations, literary and cultural production in the new millennium no longer focuses solely on the conflict between the Old World and the New or the clashes between culture of origin and adopted culture. No longer are minority authors identifying simply with their ethnic or racial cultural background in opposition to dominant culture.

The essays in this collection explore ways in which Asian Canadian authors (such as Larissa Lai, Shani Mootoo, Fred Wah, Hiromi Goto, Suniti Namjoshi, and Ying Chen) and artists (such as Ken Lum, Paul Wong, and Laiwan) have gone beyond what Françoise Lionnet calls autoethnography, or ethnographic autobiography. They demonstrate the ways representations of race and ethnicity, particularly in works by Asian Canadians in the last decade, have changedhave become more playful, untraditional, aesthetically and ideologically transgressive, and exciting.

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Asian Crossings

Travel Writing on China, Japan and Southeast Asia

Edited by Steve Clark, Paul Smethurst

This book examine various topics and contexts of travel writings on China, Japan and Southeast Asia. From the first Colombian on a trade mission to China, to French women travellers in Asia, and the opening of "Japan Fairs" in the US during the latter half of the nineteenth century, this book offers a kaleidoscopic glimpse of the various cultures in the eyes of their beholders coupled with insightful understanding of the various politics and relationships that are involved.

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