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Body, Ritual and Identity

A New Interpretation of the Early Qing Confucian Yan Yuan (1635-1704)

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Jui-Sung Yang

Yan Yuan (1635-1704) has long been a controversial figure in the study of Chinese intellectual and cultural history. Although marginalized in his own time largely due to his radical attack on Zhu Xi (1130-1200), Yan was elevated to a great thinker during the early twentieth century because of the drastic changes of the modern Chinese intellectual climate. In Body, Ritual and Identity: A New Interpretation of the Early Qing Confucian Yan Yuan (1635-1704), Yang Jui-sung has demonstrated that the complexity of Yan’s ideas and his hatred for Zhu Xi in particular need to be interpreted in light of his traumatic life experiences, his frustration over the fall of the Ming dynasty, and anxiety caused by the civil service examination system. Moreover, he should be better understood as a cultural critic of the lifestyle of educated elites of late imperial China. By critically analyzing Yan’s changing intellectual status and his criticism that the elite lifestyle was unhealthy and feminine, this new interpretation of Yan Yuan serves to shed new light on our understanding of the features as well as problems of educated elite culture in late imperial China.

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Wendelmoet Hamelink

The Sung Home tells the story of Kurdish singer-poets ( dengbêjs) in Kurdistan in Turkey, who are specialized in the recital singing of historical songs. After a long period of silence, they returned to public life in the 2000s and are presented as guardians of history and culture. Their lyrics, life stories, and live performances offer fascinating insights into cultural practices, local politics and the contingencies of state borders. Decades of oppression have deeply politicized and moralized cultural and musical production. Through in-depth ethnographic analysis Hamelink highlights the variety of personal and social narratives within a society in turmoil. Set within the larger global stories of modernity, nationalism, and Orientalism, this study reflects on different ideas about what it means to create a Kurdish home.

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Zornica Kirkova

In Roaming into the Beyond Zornica Kirkova provides the first detailed study in a Western language of Daoism-inspired themes in early medieval Chinese poetry. She examines representations of Daoist xian immortality in a broad range of versified literature from the Han until the end of the Six Dynasties, focusing on the transformations of themes, concepts, and imagery within a wide literary and religious context. Adopting a more integrated approach, the author explores both the complex interaction between poetry and Daoist religion and the interrelations between various verse forms and poetic themes. This book not only enhances our understanding of the complexities of early medieval literature but also reevaluates the place of Daoist religious thought in the intellectual life of the period.

How the Brahmins Won

From Alexander to the Guptas

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Johannes Bronkhorst

This is the first study to systematically confront the question how Brahmanism, which was geographically limited and under threat during the final centuries BCE, transformed itself and spread all over South and Southeast Asia. Brahmanism spread over this vast area without the support of an empire, without the help of conquering armies, and without the intermediary of religious missionaries. This phenomenon has no parallel in world history, yet shaped a major portion of the surface of the earth for a number of centuries. This book focuses on the formative period of this phenomenon, roughly between Alexander and the Guptas.

The Translation Chapter of the Late Ming Lulongsai Lüe

Bilingual Sections of a Chinese Military Collection

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Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky

In this book, Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky offers a complete reconstruction of the Chinese-Mongol vocabulary of the 17th century comprehensive Chinese military work called Lulongsai lüe (盧龍塞略, LLSL), a document of key importance containing one of the last Sino-Mongol glossaries without proper critical reconstruction until now. The work has resulted in a clarification of the earlier sources the compilers of LLSL used in the bilingual part. The author argues that contrary to what scholars have thought of it until now, the linguistic corpus of the glossary is not homogeneous and does not represent a single linguistic status; it does, however, shed some light on chronological and philological questions concerning the earlier works incorporated in it.

A Modernity Set to a Pre-Modern Tune

Classical-Style Poetry of Modern Chinese Writers

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Haosheng Yang

In A Modernity Set to a Pre-Modern Tune, Haosheng Yang provides an in-depth study of the classical-style poems of the most iconoclastic May Fourth Chinese writers (Lu Xun, Yu Dafu, Zhou Zuoren, Guo Moruo, and Nie Gannu) and highlights the five literary masters’ engagement with traditional lyricism as their critical response to the sociopolitical turbulence of twentieth-century China. This study challenges the bias against classical forms as allegedly outdated modes incapable of representing modern reality in current Chinese literary history.
Yang’s fascinating book positions modern Chinese literature’s formalistic nonlinearity, representational experiences, and aspiration for a new voice through an old form as factors that are all crucial to exploring more fully the blurred boundary between the traditional and the modern.

A Late Sixteenth-Century Chinese Buddhist Fellowship

Spiritual Ambitions, Intellectual Debates, and Epistolary Connections

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Jennifer Eichman

Through a detailed analysis of epistolary writing, A Late Sixteenth-Century Chinese Buddhist Fellowship: Spiritual Ambitions, Intellectual Debates, and Epistolary Connections brings to life the Buddhist discourse of a network of lay disciples who debated the value of Chan versus Pure Land, sudden versus gradual enlightenment, adherence to Buddhist precepts, and animal welfare. By highlighting the differences between their mentor, the monk Zhuhong 袾宏 (1535-1615), and his nemesis, the Yangming Confucian Zhou Rudeng 周汝登 (1547-1629), this work confronts long-held scholarly views of Confucian dominance to conclude that many classically educated, elite men found Buddhist practices a far more attractive option. Their intellectual debates, self-cultivation practices, and interpersonal relations helped shape the contours of late sixteenth-century Buddhist culture.

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Charles Exley

In Satō Haruo and Modern Japanese Literature, Charles Exley offers the first comprehensive examination of Satō’s literary oeuvre from the 1910s through the 1930s. The study examines the ways in which selected novels and short stories interact with cultural discourses of the time, including the fantastic, the discourse on melancholy and mental illness, detective fiction and early film, colonial encounter and critique of civilization, and hysteria and psychoanalysis.
Exley’s alignment of Satō’s fictional work with its cultural and historical context illustrates the complex ways in which Satō’s aesthetic projections derived from and comment on Japan’s experience with modernization during the twentieth century.

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Christoph Senft

This study offers a comprehensive overview of Indian writing in English in the 21st century. Through ten exemplary analyses in which canonical authors stand next to less well-known and diasporic ones Christoph Senft provides deep insights into India’s complex literary world and develops an argumentative framework in which narrative texts are interpreted as transmodern re-readings of history, historicity and memory. Reconciling different postmodern and postcolonial theoretical approaches to the interpretation and construction of literature and history, Senft substitutes traditional, Eurocentric and universalistic views on past and present by decolonial and pluralistic practices. He thus helps to better understand the entanglements of colonial politics and cultural production, not only on the subcontinent.

Man’yōshū (Book 17)

A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary

Edited by Alexander Vovin