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Premodern Chinese Texts in Western Translation
Volume Editors: Leo Tak-hung Chan and Zong-qi Cai
This collected volume focuses on the history of Western translation of premodern Chinese texts from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Divided into three parts, nine chapters feature close readings of translated texts, micro-studies of how three translations came into being, and broad-based surveys that inquire into the causes of historical change. Among the specific questions addressed are: What stylistic, generic, and discursive permutations were undergone by Chinese texts as they crossed linguistic borders? Who were the main agents in this centuries-long effort to transmit Chinese culture to the West? How did readership considerations affect the form that particular translations take? More generally, the contributors are concerned with the relevance of current research paradigms, like those of World Literature, transcultural reception, and the rewriting of translation history.
Author: Joshua Frydman
The introduction of writing enables new forms of literature, but these can be invisible in works that survive as manuscripts. Through looking at inscriptions of poetry on garbage and as graffiti, we can glimpse how literature spread along with writing.
This study uses these lesser-studied sources, including inscriptions on pottery, architecture, and especially wooden tablets known as mokkan, to uncover how poetry, and literature more broadly, was used, shared and thrown away in early Japan. Through looking at these disposable and informal sources, we explore the development of early Japanese literature, and even propose parallels to similar developments in other societies across space and time.
Editor / Translator: Stuart Robson
Contributor: Hadi Sidomulyo
Javanese, a major language of Southeast Asia, possesses a little-known literature, occurring in various phases, Old, Middle and Modern. This publication presents a remarkable example, from the poetical literature of Middle Javanese, in an edited text with English translation and an extensive commentary. The aim is to acquaint a wider audience with this literature, in the hope of drawing attention to its fascinating qualities. Set principally in the Singhasari area of East Java, the narrative follows the journey of the lovers, Pañji Margasmara and Ken Candrasari, offering a glimpse of the beauty of the Javanese landscape in the 15th century. The cultural, historical and archaeological details preserved in the text help to shed light on the closing years of Majapahit, a largely unexplored period in Javanese history, before the age of Islam.
The Lives and Legacy of Kim Sisŭp (1435–1493) offers an account of the most extraordinary figure of Korean literature and intellectual history. The present work narrates the fascinating story of a prodigious child, acclaimed poet, author of the first Korean novel, Buddhist monk, model subject, Confucian recluse and Daoist master. No other Chosŏn scholar or writer has been venerated in both Confucian shrines and Buddhist temples, had his works widely read in Tokugawa Japan and became an integral part of the North Korean literary canon.
The nine studies and further materials presented in this volume provide a detailed look on the various aspects of Kim Sisŭp’s life and work as well as a reflection of both traditional and modern narratives surrounding his legacy. Contributors are: Vladimír Glomb, Gregory N. Evon, Dennis Wuerthner, Barbara Wall, Kim Daeyeol, Miriam Löwensteinová, Anastasia A. Guryeva, Sixiang Wang, and Diana Yüksel.
Selected Works of Li Bingde, Lu Jie, Wang Fengxian and Huang Ji
Editors: Ruth Hayhoe, Jun Li, and Julia Pan
This book introduces four influential Chinese educators of the later 20th century whose writings had enormous influence on many dimensions of the educational reforms which underly China’s remarkable transformation into a global superpower. None of them published in English and only Li Bingde, a leader in educational experimentation, had studied abroad. Huang Ji at Beijing Normal University was an educational philosopher who interpreted Chinese classical texts as well as arts such as calligraphy and painting in ways that brought new life to Chinese pedagogy. Lu Jie at Nanjing Normal University and Wang Fengxian at Northeast Normal University were leaders in developing a whole new approach to moral education that highlighted subjectivity and self awakening as China became a socialist market economy.
A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary
Editor / Translator: Alexander Vovin
Book ten of the Man’yōshū (‘Anthology of Myriad Leaves’) continues Alexander Vovin’s new English translation of this 20-volume work originally compiled between c.759 and 785 AD. It is the earliest Japanese poetic anthology in existence and thus the most important compendium of Japanese culture of the Asuka and Nara periods. Book ten is the eleventh volume of the Man’yōshū to be published to date (following books fifteen (2009), five (2011), fourteen (2012), twenty (2013), seventeen (2016), eighteen (2016), one (2017), nineteen (2018), two (2020), and sixteen (2021). Each volume of the Vovin translation contains the original text, kana transliteration, romanization, glossing and commentary.
Volume Editors: Zong-qi Cai and Stephen Roddy
During much of China’s tumultuous 20th century, May 4th and Maoist iconoclasts regarded their classical literary heritage as a burden to be dislodged in the quest for modernization. This volume demonstrates how the traditions that had deeply impressed earlier generations of Western writers like Goethe and Voltaire did not lose their lustre; to the contrary, a fascination with these past riches sprouted with renewed vigour among Euro-American poets, novelists, and other cultural figures after the fall of imperial China in 1911. From Petrograd to Paris, and from São Paolo to San Francisco, China’s premodern poetry, theatre, essays, and fiction inspired numerous prominent writers and intellectuals. The contributors survey the fruits of this engagement in multiple Western languages and nations.
Authors: Xiaohui Zhang and Zong-qi Cai


Invented in sixteenth-century Europe, the “ideographic myth”—the notion that all Chinese written characters are pictorial—has long been used either to romanticize or denigrate Chinese language and culture compared to those of the West. This article examines the many incarnations of this myth spanning more than half a century: from the Fenollosa-Poundian theory of the Chinese character and Ezra Pound’s reformulation of his Vorticist-Imagist ideals in the early twentieth century to the Imagist influence on modern Chinese poetry in the 1910s–1920s, and Sinologists’ reinterpretations of traditional Chinese poetry in the 1970s. Originated from Xu Shen’s 許慎 (30–124) Shuowen jiezi 說文解字 (Explanations of Simple and Compound Characters) in China, indiscreet ideogrammic explanations of Chinese characters made their way first to Japan, then through Fenollosa and Pound to the United States, and then back to China, marking the beginning of the age of international travel as well as a new model of cultural connectivity not limited to geographic boundaries. As an interesting case from a cultural export to a cultural import, the pictorial myth reinvented by Fenollosa and Pound, together with its incarnations, turned out to be beneficial to all cultures involved along its rapid but complex route of transmission. Both insights and errors arising therefrom not only helped modernist poets revolutionize their poetry in both China and the West but also inspired Sinologists to reinterpret traditional Chinese poetry from the perspective of the Chinese written character, especially the primacy of its sound.

In: The Western Reinvention of Chinese Literature, 1910-2010
Author: Ana Paulina Lee


The chapter brings together Maxine Hong Kingston’s (1940–) Woman Warrior (1976) and Patricia Galvão’s (1910–1962) Industrial Park (1933) to comparatively analyze their literary constructions of Chinese female migrants from the perspective of political economy. Hong Kingston is canonized in Asian American literature and Patricia Galvão is a celebrated Brazilian author. However, rarely are they comparatively read. Bringing together their literary depictions about Chinese women in early-twentieth century US and Brazilian economic contexts opens new possibilities to bring together these literary traditions to make visible connected economic histories about Asian labor migration and gender construction in the Americas.