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476 China Review International: Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall 1996 Joseph S. M. Lau and Howard Goldblatt, editors. The Columbia Anthology ofModem Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. xliii, 726 pp. Hardcover $39.00, isbn 0-231-08002-6. Joseph S. M. Lau and Howard Goldblatt emphasize at the very beginning of their introduction to The Columbia Anthology ofModern Chinese Literature that this is the first comprehensive anthology covering representative works of modern Chinese literature from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong that have been published in English translation. The book comprises works of fiction (mostly short stories), poetry, and essays covering the period from 1918 to 1992. Thus, under the heading of Modern Literature, the editors have included writings from both ofwhat Chinese literary critics call the modern (xiandai) and the contemporary (dangdai) periods . However, drama and other literary genres such as novels have been excluded due to their length. Any anthology implies a selection, and in this case the editors have decided to present works by eighty-two authors according to the time when these works were written. From the period 1918 until the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, there are included "classical" modern writers such as Lu Xun and Ba Jin, poets like Xu Zhimo or Ai Qing, and essayists like Zhou Zuoren or Lin Yutang, to mention just some of the most popular names (and pen names) in this volume. After the period 1949-1976, the focus is on authors from Taiwan. Their works are indeed presented as "alternative worlds" to the asphyxiating political atmosphere for creative writing that prevailed during the Maoist era on the mainland, when the subordination ofliterature to official politics was enforced. Thus, Taiwanese writers and poets are introduced as the truly significant contributors to the Chinese literary canon during that time. From 1976 onwards, mainland writers do appear again, as well as others from Hong Kong, and the spectrum now covered is quite wide. Recent works include what Chinese critics refer to as the avant-garde (xianfeng), represented in selected writings of Can Xue or Yu Hua; the "misty" (menglong) poetry of Bei Dao or Shu Ting; and even some examples ofwomen's writing by such authors as Li Ang, Xi Xi, and Tie Ning. Overall, the selection ofboth writings and authors is interesting, though in some cases somehow peculiar. Since 1978, there has been a significant increase in the number of publications ofliterary works. The names of such well-known modern and contempo-© 1996 by University rary authors as Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang, Zhang Jie, Gao Xiaosheng, Ah ofHawai'i PressCheng, Zhang Xinxin, Wang Anyi, and Liu Suola, to mention just a few, have not been included in this anthology. Nevertheless, even if one may be disappointed by the absence of these or other relevant writers and poets, on the whole the choices Reviews 477 made by Lau and Goldblatt constitute a comprehensive collection that shows the quality and diversity ofmodern and contemporary Chinese literature. The book also includes short biographies ofthe writers and poets selected, worth reading before one gets into the works themselves. Even though the apparent aim ofthis anthology is primarily to introduce some ofthe most important modern Chinese writers to the English-speaking reader not yet familiar with the Chinese literary world, it would have been very helpful to include an appendix listing in Chinese the original titles ofthe selected texts as well as the names ofthe authors for other purposes such as translation studies. To mention the original sources used for the translations would also have been useful, since in mainland China new editing is sometimes done when books are reprinted. Due to the diversity in time period and genre of the pieces selected, the lack of original references makes it difficult to check the accuracy ofmany translations. The anthology includes many materials already published but is also enriched with some newly translated texts. No doubt, the authority ofthis volume relies to a large extent on the distinguished previous work done by Professors Lau and Goldblatt, and on the work ofthe many other good translators who are represented here. Taciana Fisac Autónoma University ofMadrid Taciana Fisac is Titular...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 476-477
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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