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Literature > Asian Literature
The Zhuangzi and the Transformation of Haikai
Although haiku is well known throughout the world, few outside Japan are familiar with its precursor, haikai (comic linked verse). Fewer still are aware of the role played by the Chinese Daoist classics in turning haikai into a respected literary art form. Bashō and the Dao examines the haikai poets’ adaptation of Daoist classics, particularly the Zhuangzi, in the seventeenth century and the eventual transformation of haikai from frivolous verse to high poetry. The author analyzes haikai’s encounter with the Zhuangzi through its intertextual relations with the works of Bashō and other major haikai poets, and also the nature and characteristics of haikai that sustained the Zhuangzi’s relevance to haikai poetic construction. She demonstrates how the haikai poets’ interest in this Daoist work was rooted in the intersection of deconstructing and reconstructing the classical Japanese poetic tradition. Well versed in both Chinese and Japanese scholarship, Qiu explores the significance of Daoist ideas in Bashō’s and others’ conceptions of haikai. Her method involves an extensive hermeneutic reading of haikai texts, an in-depth analysis of the connection between Chinese and Japanese poetic terminology, and a comparison of Daoist traits in both traditions. The result is a penetrating study of key ideas that have been instrumental in defining and rediscovering the poetic essence of haikai verse. Bashō and the Dao adds to an increasingly vibrant area of academic inquiry—the complex literary and cultural relations between Japan and China in the early modern era. Researchers and students of East Asian literature, philosophy, and cultural criticism will find this book a valuable contribution to cross-cultural literary studies and comparative aesthetics.
Beautiful Twentysomethings is a vivid firsthand account of the life of Marek Hlasko, a young writer whose iconoclastic way of life became an inspiration in 1950s Poland. Detailing relationships with such giants of Polish culture as the filmmaker Roman Polanski and the novelist Jerzy Andrzejewski, this memoir recounts his adventures and misadventures abroad in the postwar era. When he was recalled to Poland in 1958, Hlasko refused to return and was stripped of his Polish citizenship. He spent the rest of his life working in exile. A fascinating portrait from the short-lived rebel generation, Ross Ufberg deftly renders Hlasko's wry and passionate voice with grit and a morbid humor
Commemoration, Religion, and Responsibility after Hiroshima
This monograph explores the ethics and religious sensibilities of a group of the hibakusha (survivors) of 1945's atomic bombings. Unfortunately, their ethic of "not retaliation, but reconciliation" has not been widely recognized, perhaps obscured by the mushroom cloud symbol of American weaponry, victory, and scientific achievement. However, it is worth examining the habakushas' philosophy, supported by their religious sensibilities, as it offers resources to reconcile contested issues of public memories in our contemporary world, especially in the post 9-11 era. Their determination not to let anyone further suffer from nuclear weaponry, coupled with critical self-reflection, does not encourage the imputation of responsibility for dropping the bombs; rather, hibakusha often consider themselves "sinners" (as with the Catholics in Nagasaki; or bonbu unenlightened persons in the context of True Pure Land Buddhism in Hiroshima). For example, Nagai Takashi in Nagasaki's Catholic community wrote, "How noble, how splendid was that holocaust of August 9, when flames soared up from the cathedral, dispelling the darkness of war and bringing the light of peace!" He even urges that we "give thanks that Nagasaki was chosen for the sacrifice." Meanwhile, Koji Shigenobu, a True Pure Land priest, says that the atomic bombing was the result of errors on the part of the Hiroshima citizens, the Japanese people, and the whole of human kind. Based on the idea of acknowledging one's own fault, or more broadly one's sinful nature, the hibakusha's' ethic provides a step toward reconciliation, and challenges the foundation of ethics by obscuring the dichotomyies of right and the wrong, forgiver and forgiven, victim and victimizer.To this end, the methodology Miyamoto employs is moral hermeneutics, interpreting testimonies, public speeches, and films as texts, with interlocutors such as Avishai Margalit (philosopher), Sueki Fumihiko (Buddhist philosopher), Nagai Takashi (lay Catholic thinker), and Shinran (the founder of True Pure Land Buddhism).
Women, Society, and Detective Fiction in 1990s Japan
The publication in 1992 of Miyabe Miyuke’s highly anticipated Kasha (translated into English as All She Was Worth) represents a watershed in the history of Japanese women’s detective fiction. Inspired by Miyabe’s success and the increasing number of Western mysteries in translation, women began writing mysteries of all types, employing the narrative and conceptual resources of the detective genre to depict and critique contemporary Japanese society—and the situation of women in it. Bodies of Evidence examines this recent boom and the ways in which five contemporary authors (Miyabe, Nonami Asa, Shibata Yoshiki, Kirino Natsuo, and Matsuo Yumi) critically engage with a variety of social issues and concerns: consumerism and the crisis of identity, discrimination and harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment and sexual violence, and motherhood. Bodies of Evidence moves beyond the borders of detective fiction scholarship by exploring the worlds constructed by these authors in their novels and showing how they intersect with other political, cultural, and economic discourses and with the lived experiences of contemporary Japanese women.
Women's Indigenous Knowledge and Cosmopolitanism in South Asian Poetry
An engaging and informative exploration of four women poets writing in Hindi and Urdu over the course of the twentieth century in India and Pakistan. Anantharam follows the authors and their works, as both countries undergo profound political and social transformations. The book tells of how these women forge solidarities with women from different, castes, classes, and religions through their poetry.
Arun Kolatkar and Bilingual Literary Culture
Bombay Modern uncovers an alternative and provincial modernism through poetry, a genre that is marginal to postcolonial studies, and through bilingual scholarship across English and Marathi texts, a methodology that is currently peripheral at best to both modernist studies and postcolonial literary criticism in India. Eschewing any attempt to define an overarching or universal modernism, Bombay Modern delimits its sphere of study to "Bombay" and to the "post-1960" (the sathottari period) in an attempt to examine at close range the specific way in which this poetry redeployed the regional, the national, and the international to create a very tangible yet transient local.
The tenderness of Lan Lan’s poetry is steely and perfectly judged. She shows us a world of subtle adjustments and intelligent beauty—although the stakes she deals in could not be higher. As its title suggests, Canyon in the Body uncovers both existential and domestic meanings, writ both large and small in the human environment. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s limpid, unforced translations do the poet, and her Anglophone readers, a great service. —Fiona Sampson, Editor of Poem and Professor of Poetry, Roehampton University Lan Lan is discussing happiness with us. She cuts time, our faces, our dreams, our crystal gaze. So how does this happen: when we leave her, washed, new, mellow, happy that she conducted us, drowned us, left us hovering in this . . . what? nothing? Blessed be the day I discovered her writing. —Tomaž Šalamun
The Emergence of Chinese Science Fiction
Challenging assumptions about science fiction’s Western origins, Nathaniel Isaacson traces the development of the genre in China, from the late Qing Dynasty through the New Culture Movement. Through careful examination of a wide range of visual and print media—including historical accounts of the institutionalization of science, pictorial representations of technological innovations, and a number of novels and short stories—Isaacson makes a case for understanding Chinese science fiction as a product of colonial modernity. By situating the genre’s emergence in the transnational traffic of ideas and material culture engendered by the presence of colonial powers in China’s economic and political centers, Celestial Empires explores the relationship between science fiction and Orientalist discourse. In doing so it offers an innovative approach to the study of both vernacular writing in twentieth-century China and science fiction in a global context.
From Imperial Pillars of State to Global Real Men
It is now almost a cliché to claim that China and the Chinese people have changed. Yet inside the new clothing that is worn by the Chinese man today, Kam Louie contends, we still see much of the historical Chinese man. With contributions from a team of outstanding scholars, Changing Chinese Masculinities studies a range of Chinese men in diverse and, most importantly, Chinese contexts. It explores the fundamental meaning of manhood in the Chinese setting and the very notion of an indigenous Chinese masculinity. In twelve chapters spanning the late imperial period to the present day, Changing Chinese Masculinities brings a much needed historical dimension to the discussion. Key aspects defining the male identity such as family relationships and attitudes toward sex, class, and career are explored in depth. Familiar notions of Chinese manhood come in all shapes and sizes. Concubinage reemerges as the taking of “second wives” in recent decades. Male homoerotic love and male prostitution are shown to have long historical roots. The self-images of the literati and officials form an interesting contrast with those of the contemporary white-collar men. Masculinity and nationalism complement each other in troubling ways. China has indeed changed and is still changing, but most of these social transformations do not indicate a complete break with past beliefs or practices in gender relations. Changing Chinese Masculinities inaugurates the Hong Kong University Press book series “Transnational Asian Masculinities.”
Selected poetry of Zhai Yongming
The author of six volumes of poetry, Zhai Yongming first became prominent in the mid-1980s with the publication of her twenty-poem cycle, "Woman," a work that forcefully articulated a female point-of-view in China??s largely patriarchal society. Her powerful imagery and forthright voice resonated with many readers. Zhai has continued to hone her critique of tranditional attitudes towards women, quickly becoming one of China??s foremost feminist voices and a major force in the contemporary literary scene. She is also an installation artist and prolific essayist, and stages poetry readings and other cultural events at the bar she owns in her native Chengdu.