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Decentering Rushdie

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.

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Demonic Warfare

Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel

Mark R.E. Meulenbeld

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.

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Di'bil b. 'Ali

The Life and Writings of an Early 'Abbasid Poet

Leon Zolondek

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.

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Different Voices

The Singaporean/Malaysian Novel

Rosaly Puthucheary

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.

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Directing scenes and senses

The thinking of Regie

Peter Boenisch

As European theatre directors become a familiar presence on international stages and a new generation of theatre makers absorbs their impulses, this study develops fresh perspectives on Regie, the Continental European tradition of staging playtexts. Leaving behind unhelpful clichés that pit, above all, the director against the playwright, Peter M. Boenisch stages playful encounters between Continental theatre and Continental philosophy. The contemporary Regie work of Thomas Ostermeier, Frank Castorf, Ivo van Hove, Guy Cassiers, tg STAN, and others, here meets the works of Friedrich Schiller and Leopold Jessner, Hegelian speculative dialectics, and the critical philosophy of Jacques Rancière and Slavoj Žižek in order to explore the thinking of Regie – how to think Regie, and how Regie thinks. This partial and ‘sideways look’ invites a wider reconsideration of the potential of ‘playing’ theatre today, of its aesthetic possibilities, and its political stakes in the global neoliberal economy of the twenty-first century.

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Double Shadows

Selected Poetry of Ouyang Jianghe

Translated by Austin Woerner

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.

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Dragons in the Land of the Condor

Writing Tusán in Peru

Ignacio López-Calvo, Foreword by Eugenio Chang-Rodríguez

Building on his 2013 study on Nikkei cultural production in Peru, in Dragons in the Land of the Condor Ignacio López-Calvo studies the influence of a Chinese ethnic background in the writing of several twentieth- and twenty-first-century Sino-Peruvian authors.

While authors like Siu Kam Wen and Julia Wong often rely on their Chinese cultural heritage for inspiration, many others, like Pedro Zulen, Mario Wong, and Julio Villanueva Chang, choose other sources of inspiration and identification. López-Calvo studies the different strategies used by these writers to claim either their belonging in the Peruvian national project or their difference as a minority ethnic group within Peru. Whether defending the rights of indigenous Peruvians, revealing the intricacies of a life of self-exploitation among Chinese shopkeepers, exploring their identitarian dilemmas, or re-creating—beyond racial memory—life under the political violence in Lima of the 1980s, these authors provide their community with a voice and a collective agency, while concomitantly repositioning contemporary Peruvian culture as transnational.

López-Calvo bridges from his earlier study of Peruvian Nikkei’s testimonials and literature and raises this question: why are Chinese Peruvian authors seemingly more disconnected from their Asian heritage than Japanese Peruvian authors from theirs? The author argues that the Chinese arrival in Peru half a century earlier influenced a stronger identification with the criollo world. Yet he argues that this situation may soon be changing as the new geopolitical and economic influence of the People’s Republic of China in the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, affects the way Chinese and Sino–Latin American communities and their cultures are produced and perceived.

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The Drunken Man's Talk

Tales from Medieval China

compiled by Luo Ye; translated and introduced by Alister D. Inglis

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.

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East-West Exchange and Late Modernism

Williams, Moore, Pound

Zhaoming Qian

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Ecoambiguity

Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures

Karen Laura Thornber

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.

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