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Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination

The Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672)

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Anne Kathrin Schmiedl

In Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination, Anne Schmiedl analyses the little-studied method of Chinese character manipulation as found in imperial sources. Focusing on one of the most famous and important works on this subject, the Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672), Schmiedl traces and discusses the historical development and linguistic properties of this method. This book represents the first thorough study of the Zichu and the reader is invited to explore how, on the one hand, the educated elite leveraged character manipulation as a literary play form. On the other hand, as detailed exhaustively by Schmiedl, practitioners of divination also used and altered the visual, phonetic, and semantic structure of Chinese characters to gain insights into events and objects in the material world.

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Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros

In The Culture of Love in China and Europe Paolo Santangelo and Gábor Boros offer a survey of the cults of love developed in the history of ideas and literary production in China and Europe between the 12th and early 19th century. They describe parallel evolutions within the two cultures, and how innovatively these independent civilisations developed their own categories and myths to explain, exalt but also control the emotions of love and their behavioural expressions. The analyses contain rich materials for comparison, point out the universal and specific elements in each culture, and hint at differences and resemblances, without ignoring the peculiar beauty and attractive force of the texts cultivating love.

No Moonlight in My Cup

Sinitic Poetry (Kanshi) from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries

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Edited by Judith N. Rabinovitch and Timothy R. Bradstock

This work is an anthology of 225 translated and annotated Sinitic poems ( kanshi 漢詩) composed in public and private settings by nobles, courtiers, priests, and others during Japan’s Nara and Heian periods (710-1185). The authors have supplied detailed biographical notes on the sixty-nine poets represented and an overview of each collection from which the verse of this eminent and enduring genre has been drawn. The introduction provides historical background and discusses kanshi subgenres, themes, textual and rhetorical conventions, styles, and aesthetics, and sheds light on the socio-political milieu of the classical court, where Chinese served as the written language of officialdom and the preeminent medium for literary and scholarly activity among the male elite.

Postsocialist Conditions

Ideas and History in China’s "Independent Cinema", 1988-2008

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Xiaoping Wang

In Postsocialist Conditions: Idea and History in China’s “Independent Cinema,” 1988-2008, WANG Xiaoping offers a comprehensive survey and trenchant critique of China’s “Independent Cinema” by the sixth-generation auteurs. By showing the multi-valence of the postsocialist conditions in contemporary Chinese society, their films articulate a new cultural-political logic in postsocialist China, which is also the logic of the market in this era of neoliberal transformation, brought about by the forces of marketization since the late 1980s. The directors laudably show the spirits of humanism and the humanitarian concerns of the underclass, yet the shortage and repudiation of class analysis prohibits the artists from exploring the social contradictions and the cause of class restructuration.

Remaking Gender and the Family

Perspectives on Contemporary Chinese-language Film Remakes

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Sarah Woodland

In Remaking Gender and the Family, Sarah Woodland examines the complexities of Chinese-language cinematic remakes. With a particular focus on how changes in representations of gender and the family between two versions of the same film connect with perceived socio-cultural, political and cinematic values within Chinese society, Woodland explores how source texts are reshaped for their new audiences. In this book, she conducts a comparative analysis of two pairs of intercultural and two pairs of intracultural films, each chapter highlighting a different dimension of remakes, and illustrating how changes in gender representations can highlight not just differences in attitudes towards gender across cultures, but also broader concerns relating to culture, genre, auteurism, politics and temporality.

Song Dynasty Figures of Longing and Desire

Gender and Interiority in Chinese Painting and Poetry

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Lara C.W. Blanchard

In Song Dynasty Figures of Longing and Desire, Lara Blanchard analyzes images of women in painting and poetry of China’s middle imperial period, focusing on works that represent female figures as preoccupied with romance. She discusses examples of visual and literary culture in regard to their authorship and audience, examining the role of interiority in constructions of gender, exploring the rhetorical functions of romantic images, and considering connections between subjectivity and representation. The paintings in particular have sometimes been interpreted as simple representations of the daily lives of women, or as straightforward artifacts of heteroerotic desire; Blanchard proposes that such works could additionally be interpreted as political allegories, representations of the artist’s or patron’s interiorities, or models of idealized femininity.

Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess

The Legend of Giō and Hotoke in Japanese Literature, Theater, Visual Arts, and Cultural Heritage

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Roberta Strippoli

Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess explores the story of the dancers Giō and Hotoke, which first appeared in the fourteenth-century narrative Tale of the Heike. The story of the two love rivals is one of loss, female solidarity, and Buddhist salvation. Since its first appearance, it has inspired a stream of fiction, theatrical plays, and visual art works. These heroines have become the subjects of lavishly illustrated hand scrolls, ghosts on the noh stage, and Buddhist and Shinto goddesses. Physical monuments have been built to honor their memories; they are emblems of local pride and centerpieces of shared identity. Two beloved characters in the Japanese literary imagination, Giō and Hotoke are also models that have instructed generations of women on how to survive in a male-dominated world.

Books of Fate and Popular Culture in Early China

The Daybook Manuscripts of the Warring States, Qin, and Han

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Edited by Donald Harper and Marc Kalinowski

Books of Fate and Popular Culture in Early China is a comprehensive introduction to the manuscripts known as daybooks, examples of which have been found in Warring States, Qin, and Han tombs (453 BCE–220 CE). Their main content concerns hemerology, or “knowledge of good and bad days.” Daybooks reveal the place of hemerology in daily life and are invaluable sources for the study of popular culture.
Eleven scholars have contributed chapters examining the daybooks from different perspectives, detailing their significance as manuscript-objects intended for everyday use and showing their connection to almanacs still popular in Chinese communities today as well as to hemerological literature in medieval Europe and ancient Babylon.
Contributors include: Marianne Bujard, László Sándor Chardonnens, Christopher Cullen, Donald Harper, Marc Kalinowski, Li Ling, Liu Lexian, Alasdair Livingstone, Richard Smith, Alain Thote, and Yan Changgui.

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Richard van Leeuwen

In Narratives of Kingship in Eurasian Empires, 1300-1800 Richard van Leeuwen analyses representations and constructions of the idea of kingship in fictional texts of various genres, especially belonging to the intermediate layer between popular and official literature. The analysis shows how ideologies of power are embedded in the literary and cultural imagination of societies, their cultural values and conceptualizations of authority. By referring to examples from various empires (Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, European) the parallels between literary traditions are laid bare, revealing remarkable common concerns. The process of interaction and transmission are highlighted to illustrate how literature served as a repository for ideological and cultural values transforming power into authority in various imperial environments.

Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature

Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions

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Edited by Mark Stevenson and Cuncun Wu

The contributors to Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature: Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions draw attention to ‘wanton woman’ themes across time as they were portrayed in court history (McMahon), fiction (Stevenson), drama (Lam, Wu), and songs and ballads (Ôki, Epstein, McLaren). Looking back, the essays challenge us with views of sexual transgression that are more heterogeneous than modern popular focus on Pan Jinlian would suggest. Central among the many insights to be found is that despite gender performance in Chinese history being overwhelmingly determined by the needs of patriarchal authority, men and women in the late imperial period discovered diverse ways in which to reflect on how men constantly sought their own bearings in reference to women.