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Literature > Asian Literature

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Imperial Babel Cover

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Imperial Babel

Translation, Exoticism, and the Long Nineteenth Century

Padma Rangarajan

At the heart of every colonial encounter lies an act of translation. Once dismissed as a derivative process, the new cultural turn in translation studies has opened the field to dynamic considerations of the contexts that shape translations and that, in turn, reveal translation’s truer function as a locus of power. In Imperial Babel, Padma Rangarajan explores translation’s complex role in shaping literary and political relationships between India and Britain._x000B__x000B_Unlike other readings that cast colonial translation as primarily a tool for oppression, Rangarajan argues that translation changed both colonizer and colonized and undermined colonial hegemony as much as it abetted it. Imperial Babel explores the diverse political and cultural consequences of a variety of texts, from eighteenth-century oriental tales to mystic poetry of the fin de siècle and from translation proper to its ethnological, mythographic, and religious variants._x000B__x000B_Searching for translation’s trace enables a broader, more complex understanding of intellectual exchange in imperial culture as well as a more nuanced awareness of the dialectical relationship between colonial policy and nineteenth-century literature. Rangarajan argues that while bearing witness to the violence that underwrites translation in colonial spaces, we should also remain open to the irresolution of translation, its unfixed nature, and its ability to transform both languages in which it works._x000B_

The Ise Stories Cover

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The Ise Stories

Ise monogatari

translated and with commentary by Joshua S. Mostow and Royall Tyler

Ise monogatari is one of classical Japan’s most important texts. It influenced other literary court romances like The Tale of Genji and inspired artists, playwrights, and poets throughout Japanese history and to the present day.

In a series of 125 loosely connected episodes, the Ise tells the story of a famous lover, Captain Ariwara no Narihira (825–880), and his romantic encounters with women throughout Japan. Each episode centers on an exchange of love poems designed to demonstrate wit, sensitivity, and "courtliness."

Joshua Mostow and Royall Tyler present a fresh, contemporary translation of this classic work, together with a substantial commentary for each episode. The commentary explores how the text has been read in the past and identifies not only the point of each episode, but also the full range of historical interpretations, many of which shaped the use of the Ise in later literary and visual arts. The book includes reproductions from a version of the 1608 Saga-bon printed edition of the Ise, the volume that established Ise iconography for the entire Edo period (1600–1868).

52 illus.

Islands and Continents Cover

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Islands and Continents

Short Stories by Leung Ping-kwan

Edited by John Minford ,Brian Holton ,Agnes Hung-chong Chan

In this kaleidoscope of stories, translated from the Chinese, P.K. Leung, one of Hong Kong's most celebrated literary figures, presents his personal vision of the city, evoking in his inimitable voice the local and international dimensions of this extraordinary place, capturing its poignant ambivalence as a postcolonial territory on the fringe of China.

Japanese Counterculture Cover

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Japanese Counterculture

The Antiestablishment Art of Terayama Shuji

Steven C. Ridgely

Terayama Shuji (1935-1983) was an avant-garde Japanese poet, dramatist, film director, and photographer known for his highly provocative work. In this inventive and revealing work, Steven Ridgely examines Terayama's life and art to show that a conventional notion of him does not do full justice to the meaning and importance of his wide-ranging, often playful body of work.

Ridgely places Terayama at the center of Japanese and global counterculture and finds in his work a larger story about the history of postwar Japanese art and culture. He sees Terayama as reflecting the most significant events of his day: young poets seizing control of haiku and tanka in the 1950s, radio drama experimenting with form and content after the cultural shift to television around 1960, young assistant directors given free rein in the New Wave as cinema combated television, underground theatre in the politicized late 1960s, and experimental short film through the 1970s after both the studio system and art house cinema had collapsed.

Featuring close readings of Terayama's art, Ridgely demonstrates how across his oeuvre there are patterns that sidestep existing power structures, never offering direct opposition but nevertheless making the opposition plain. And, he claims, there is always in Terayama's work a broad call for seeking out or creating pockets of fiction-where we are made aware that things are not what they seem-and to use otherness in those spaces to take a clearer view of reality.

Japanese Hermeneutics Cover

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Japanese Hermeneutics

Current Debates on Aesthetics and Interpretation

Michael F. Marra

Japanese Hermeneutics provides a forum for the most current international debates on the role played by interpretative models in the articulation of cultural discourses on Japan. It presents the thinking of esteemed Western philosophers, aestheticians, and art and literary historians, and introduces to English-reading audiences some of Japan's most distinguished scholars, whose work has received limited or no exposure in the United States.

In the first part, "Hermeneutics and Japan," contributors examine the difficulties inherent in articulating "otherness" without falling into the trap of essentialization and while relying on Western epistemology for explanation and interpretation. In the second part, "Japan's Aesthetic Hermeneutics," they explore the role of aesthetics in shaping discourses on art and nature in Japan. The essays in the final section of the book, "Japan's Literary Hermeneutics," rethink the notion of "Japanese literature" in light of recent findings on the ideological implications of canon formations and transformations within Japan's prominent literary circles.

Contributors: Amagasaki Akira, Haga Toru, Hamashita Masahiro, Inaga Shigemi, Kambayashi Tsunemichi, Thomas LaMarre, John C. Maraldo, Michael F. Marra, Mark Meli, Ohashi Ryosuke, Otabe Tanehisa, Graham Parkes, J. Thomas Rimer, Sasaki Ken'ichi, Haruo Shirane, Suzuki Sadami, Stefan Tanaka, Gianni Vattimo.

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Joining the Global Public

Word, Image, and City in Early Chinese Newspapers, 1870-1910

Joining the Global Public examines early Chinese-language newspapers and analyzes their impact on China’s modernization. Exploring a range of media such as regular dailies, illustrated weeklies, and entertainment papers, contributors look at factors that influenced the nature of these publications, including foreign models, foreign managers, and a first generation of Chinese journalists, editorialists, and “newspainters.” With analyses demonstrating how the growth of popular media would enable China to join the global public, contributors also examine the impact of inserting an alien medium—a newspaper—into a Chinese universe and note the spread of new attitudes and values as entertainment papers filled the space of a newly created urban leisure. A superb and pioneering documentation of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Chinese-language media, Joining the Global Public serves as an introduction to this important yet little-studied part of China’s modernization.

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Jumping Through Hoops

Autobiographical Stories by Modern Chinese Women Writers

Jing M. Wang

This book is a collection of nine intense and dramatic stories that sheds new light on the experiences of Chinese women during the Second World War.

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Kama's Flowers

Nature in Hindi Poetry and Criticism, 1885-1925

Explores the transformation of Hindi poetry as it reflects a changing society during the period from 1885-1925. Kama’s Flowers documents the transformation of Hindi poetry during the crucial period of 1885-1925. As Hindi was becoming a national language and Indian nationalism was emerging, Hindi authors articulated a North Indian version of modernity by revisioning Nature. While their writing has previously been seen as an imitation of European Romanticism, Valerie Ritter shows its unique and particular function in North India. Description of the natural world recalled traditional poetics, particularly erotic and devotional poetics, but was now used to address socio-political concerns, as authors created literature to advocate for a “national character” and to address a growing audience of female readers. Examining Hindi classics, translations from English poetry, literary criticism, and little-known popular works, Ritter combines translations with fresh literary analysis to show the pivotal role of nature in how modernity was understood. Bringing a new body of literature to English-language readers, Kama’s Flowers also reveals the origins of an influential visual culture that resonates today in Bollywood cinema.

Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China Cover

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Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China

by Antje Richter

This first book-length study in Chinese or any Western language of personal letters and letter-writing in premodern China focuses on the earliest period (ca. 3rd-6th cent. CE) with a sizeable body of surviving correspondence. Along with the translation and analysis of many representative letters, Antje Richter explores the material culture of letter writing (writing supports and utensils, envelopes and seals, the transportation of finished letters) and letter-writing conventions (vocabulary, textual patterns, topicality, creativity).

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Literary Cultures in History

Reconstructions from South Asia

Sheldon Pollock

A grand synthesis of unprecedented scope, Literary Cultures in History is the first comprehensive history of the rich literary traditions of South Asia. Together these traditions are unmatched in their combination of antiquity, continuity, and multicultural complexity, and are a unique resource for understanding the development of language and imagination over time. In this unparalleled volume, an international team of renowned scholars considers fifteen South Asian literary traditions—including Hindi, Indian-English, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Urdu—in their full historical and cultural variety.

The volume is united by a twofold theoretical aim: to understand South Asia by looking at it through the lens of its literary cultures and to rethink the practice of literary history by incorporating non-Western categories and processes. The questions these seventeen essays ask are accordingly broad, ranging from the character of cosmopolitan and vernacular traditions to the impact of colonialism and independence, indigenous literary and aesthetic theory, and modes of performance. A sophisticated assimilation of perspectives from experts in anthropology, political science, history, literary studies, and religion, the book makes a landmark contribution to historical cultural studies and to literary theory in addition to the new perspectives it offers on what literature has meant in South Asia.

(Available in South Asia from Oxford University Press--India)

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