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Cosmopolitanism and the Indian Novel in English
Interrogating current theories of cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and aesthetics in Postcolonial Studies, Decentering Rushdie offers a new perspective on the Indian novel in English. Since Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, its postmodern style and postnational politics have dominated discussions of postcolonial literature. As a result, the rich variety of narrative forms and perspectives on the nation that constitute the field have been obscured, if not erased altogether. Reading a range of novels published between the 1950s and 1990s, including works by Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, Decentering Rushdie suggests an alternative understanding of the genre in postcolonial India. Pranav Jani documents the broad shift from nation-oriented to postnationalist perspectives following the watershed crisis of the Emergency of the 1970s. Recovering the “namak-halaal cosmopolitanism” of early novels—a cosmopolitanism that is “true to its salt”—Decentering Rushdie also explains the rise and critical celebration of postnational cosmopolitanism. Decentering Rushdie thus resituates contemporary literature within a nuanced history of Indian debates about cosmopolitanism and the national question. In the process, Jani articulates definitions of cosmopolitanism and nationalism that speak to the complex negotiation of language, culture, and representation in postcolonial South Asia.
Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel
Revealing the fundamental continuities between vernacular fiction and exorcist, martial rituals in the vernacular language, Meulenbeld argues that a specific type of Daoist exorcism helped shape vernacular novels in the late Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Focusing on the once famous novel Fengshen yanyi (“Canonization of the Gods”), the author maps out the general ritual structure and divine protagonists that it borrows from much older systems of Daoist exorcism.
By exploring how the novel reflects the specific concerns of communities associated with Fengshen yanyi and its ideology, Meulenbeld is able to reconstruct the cultural sphere in which Daoist exorcist rituals informed late imperial “novels.” He first looks at temple networks and their religious festivals, then shows that it is by means of dramatic practices like ritual, theatre, and temple processions that divine acts were embodied and brought to life.
Meulenbeld makes a convincing case for the need to debunk the retrospective reading of China through the modern, secular Western categories of “literature,” “society,” and “politics.” He shows that this disregard of religious dynamics has distorted our understanding of China and that “religion” cannot be conveniently isolated from scholarly analysis.
The Life and Writings of an Early 'Abbasid Poet
Di'bil b. 'Alī (765--860) was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the best satirists in the school of Arabic poets which flourished during the early 'Abbāsid age. Leon Zolondek has collected, translated, and annotated 229 fragments of Di'bil's verse and has assembled materials for a reconstruction of his long-lost yet widely quoted Book of the Poets. Arabic texts of the poems and of the citations of Book of the Poets are included.
The Singaporean/Malaysian Novel
The Different Voices: Singaporean/Malaysian Novel, focuses on the challenges that face a novelist in the literary representation of a multilingual environment. The early writers used strategies like vernacular transcription and mimetic translation. However, the close readings of twelve selected novels by non-European writers from 1980 to 2001 indicate the increasing use of strategies like lexical borrowings, code mixing, code switching and varieties of Singapore-Malayan English, instead. Puthucheary asserts in her book that the methods of language appropriation have a direct connection to how the writer conveys the multilingual nature of the Singapore-Malayan society through the speaking person while developing the central theme of the novel. The book maps out the verbal artistic representation of the speaking person and the correlation between speech and character in a multilingual environment.
Selected Poetry of Ouyang Jianghe
Ouyang Jianghe played a central role in the 1980s underground Sichuanese poetry scene that gave rise to the Chinese poetic avant-garde, and during that time he became known as one of the “Five Masters from Sichuan.” Since then he has emerged as one of China’s most prominent literary figures, authoring four books of poetry and essays and publishing numerous works of criticism on art, music, and literature. He is also a noted calligrapher. In 2010 he was awarded the Chinese Literature Media Award for poetry. He lives in Beijing and travels frequently to the U.S. and Germany. Doubled Shadows is his first poetry collection in English.
Writing Tusán in Peru
Tales from Medieval China
This collection of short stories, anecdotes, and poems was likely compiled during the 13th century. Tales of romantic love—including courtship, marriage, and illicit affairs—unify the collection and make it an essential primary source for literary and social history, since official Chinese history sources did not usually discuss family conflict or sexual matters. This volume, the first complete translation of The Drunken Man’s Talk (Xinbian zuiweng tanlu) in any language, includes an introduction that explores the literary significance of the work as well as annotations explaining the symbolism and allusions found in the stories.
Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures
East Asian literatures are famous for celebrating the beauties of nature and depicting people as intimately connected with the natural world. But in fact, because the region has a long history of transforming and exploiting nature, much of the fiction and poetry in the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages portrays people as damaging everything from small woodlands to the entire planet. These texts seldom talk about environmental crises straightforwardly. Instead, like much creative writing on degraded ecosystems, they highlight what Karen Laura Thornber calls ecoambiguity—the complex, contradictory interactions between people and the nonhuman environment. Ecoambiguity is the first book in any language to analyze Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese literary treatments of damaged ecosystems. Thornber closely examines East Asian creative portrayals of inconsistent human attitudes, behaviors, and information concerning the environment and takes up texts by East Asians who have been translated and celebrated around the world, including Gao Xingjian, Ishimure Michiko, Jiang Rong, and Ko Un, as well as fiction and poetry by authors little known even in their homelands. Ecoambiguity addresses such environmental crises as deforesting, damming, pollution, overpopulation, species eradication, climate change, and nuclear apocalypse. This book opens new portals of inquiry in both East Asian literatures and ecocriticism (literature and environment studies), as well as in comparative and world literature.
Literature from Japan's Mega-City, 1750-1850
During the eighteenth century, Edo (today’s Tokyo) became the world’s largest city, quickly surpassing London and Paris. Its rapidly expanding population and flourishing economy encouraged the development of a thriving popular culture. Innovative and ambitious young authors and artists soon began to look beyond the established categories of poetry, drama, and prose, banding together to invent completely new literary forms that focused on the fun and charm of Edo. Their writings were sometimes witty, wild, and bawdy, and other times sensitive, wise, and polished. Now some of these high spirited works, celebrating the rapid changes, extraordinary events, and scandalous news of the day, have been collected in an accessible volume highlighting the city life of Edo.
Edo’s urban consumers demanded visual presentations and performances in all genres. Novelties such as books with text and art on the same page were highly sought after, as were kabuki plays and the polychrome prints that often shared the same themes, characters, and even jokes. Popular interest in sex and entertainment focused attention on the theatre district and “pleasure quarters,” which became the chief backdrops for the literature and arts of the period. Gesaku, or “playful writing,” invented in the mid-eighteenth century, satirized the government and samurai behavior while parodying the classics. These entertaining new styles bred genres that appealed to the masses. Among the bestsellers were lengthy serialized heroic epics, revenge dramas, ghost and monster stories, romantic melodramas, and comedies that featured common folk.
An Edo Anthology offers distinctive and engaging examples of this broad range of genres and media. It includes both well-known masterpieces and unusual examples from the city’s counterculture, some popular with intellectuals, others with wider appeal. Some of the translations presented here are the first available in English and many are based on first editions. In bringing together these important and expertly translated Edo texts in a single volume, this collection will be warmly welcomed by students and interested readers of Japanese literature and popular culture.
104 illus., 5 in color
The Anglo-Indian Family Romance and the Poetics of Indirect Rule
Even though Edward Said’s Orientalism inspired several generations of scholars to study the English novel’s close involvement with colonialism, they have not considered how English novels themselves were radically altered by colonialism. In Educating Seeta, Shuchi Kapila argues that the paradoxes of indirect rule in British India were negotiated in “family romances” which encoded political struggle in the language of domestic and familial civility. A mixture of domestic ideology and liberal politics, these are Anglo-Indian romances, written by British colonials who lived in India during a period of indirect colonial rule. Instead of providing neat conclusions and smooth narratives, they become a record of the limits of liberal colonialism. They thus offer an important supplement to Victorian novels, extend the study of nineteenth-century domestic ideology, and offer a new perspective on colonial culture. Kapila demonstrates that popular writing about India and, by implication, other colonies is an important supplement to the high Victorian novel and indispensable to our understanding of nineteenth-century English literature and culture. Her nuanced study of British writing about indirect rule in India will reshape our understanding of Victorian domestic ideologies, class formation, and gender politics.