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Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896–1949)
In Detecting Chinese Modernities: Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896–1949), Yan Wei historicizes the two stages in the development of Chinese detective fiction and discusses the rupture and continuity in the cultural transactions, mediation, and appropriation that occurred when the genre of detective fiction traveled to China during the first half of the twentieth century. Wei identifies two divergent, or even opposite strategies for appropriating Western detective fiction during the late Qing and the Republican periods. She further argues that these two periods in the domestication of detective fiction were also connected by shared emotions. Both periods expressed ambivalent and sometimes contradictory views regarding Chinese tradition and Western modernity.

Abstract

Nineteenth-century travelogues by British travelers to Persia commonly include warnings against “excessive” Persian politeness, casting it as flattery or deceit. While this pejorative representation of Persian cordiality is a token of British Orientalism, it also highlights the incompatible measures for pleasantries in Persia and Britain. This essay traces the competing economies of social courtesy in these two contexts: a desire for utmost calculability in the British market entailed a new conception of politeness, one more moderate and commercial; by contrast, Persian politeness operated through gift-giving and “extravagant” greetings and complimenting. While the former hinges on a “modern” conception of commerce, the latter pivots around the bargain entailed in gift-giving. (Mis)recognition and (mis)translation of Persian “excess” as the hypocrisy of the ancien régime in the travelogues, however, signpost a teleological fabrication of the past which urges a global circulation of the British notion of polite character.

in Philological Encounters

Abstract

In the New Science (1744), Giambattista Vico defined filologia as “the doctrine of all the institutions that depend on human choice” of the mondo civile. When nineteenth-century European nationalism was on the rise, supported by narratives of cultural homogeneity and specificity, philological comparatism was the state-of-the-art and it, often, legitimated the obsessions with the purity of origins and genealogies. Italy, characterized by internal plurality and its Mediterranean entanglements, is a model case. Whereas many discourses of the Risorgimento aspired to shape a new Italian nation after the classical model, Michele Amari’s History of the Muslims of Sicily (1854–1872) marked an astonishing exception. For him, going back to Islamic-Sicilian history, its literary, rhetorical and linguistic culture, meant to resume, on a higher level of incivilmento (Vico), what had been obscured by cultural decline: the spirit of freedom and equality, which Ibn Khaldūn had attributed to the Bedouins and their dynamics in history.

in Philological Encounters

Abstract

The history of Khaldunian readings in the twentieth century reveals an analytical capacity of non-Orientalists definitely greater than that demonstrated by the Orientalists. The latter, at least until the 1950s, prove to be prisoners of that syndrome denounced by Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), which projected on Islamic historical development a specificity and an alterity, which make it an exception in world history. Orientalist scholarship has often wanted to see in Ibn Khaldūn’s critical attitude to the philosophy of al-Fārābī and Averroes only the confirmation of the primacy of the sharīʿa over Platonic nomos. This article seeks to highlight some aspects of Ibn Khaldūn’s critique of classical political thought of Islamic philosophy. His critique focuses on the importance given to the juridical dimension of social becoming, and to the role of the political body of the jurists in the making of the City. Those aspects witness Ibn Khaldūn’s effort to interpret change and fractures as factors which make sense of history and decadence.

in Philological Encounters

Abstract

In his historical and legal works, Giambattista Vico points out several times that there are significant differences between human societies. From The Universal Law onwards, the Neapolitan philosopher proposes the restoration of the history of nations and recognizes that travel, migration and cultural exchanges play a significant role in the vicissitudes of peoples. At the same time, he also searches for constants (economic and social, political and cultural) that are common to all nations and that may be compatible with the natural and historical differences remaining between them. This project grows and matures over the three editions of the New Science. In this regard, this article aims to dissect the course of Vico’s intent and show that he does not appear to neglect cultural differences or the importance of cultural exchanges in the history of humankind to the exclusive benefit of the invariants occurring in all human communities.

in Philological Encounters
in Philological Encounters

Abstract

In the nineteenth century, the reception of Giambattista Vico’s writings came along with nationalist interpretations of his Scienza Nuova as an ‘Italian Science’. This tendency was based upon an increased examination of the role that the philosopher Pythagoras and his Italian school of Croton played in Vico’s hierarchical conception of the ancient Greek and Italian civilizations. Writers, archaeologists and historians used the New Science as a metonymic reference work for their own nationalist concepts by updating the Pythagorean myth in accordance with relevant narratives of exclusive genealogies concerning an ancient Italian wisdom. These narratives follow tendencies in Vico’s own writings that were quoted strategically and mixed with further interpretations of the Scienza Nuova as reliable testimonial for a glorious Italian history. A theological poet characterized by deeper insight into the secrets of nature and some parts of the divine providence, Pythagoras gains his special position in Vico’s general conception of knowledge.

in Philological Encounters
Literature, Advocacy, Care
In Global Healing: Literature, Advocacy, Care, Karen Laura Thornber analyzes how narratives from diverse communities globally engage with a broad variety of diseases and other serious health conditions and advocate for empathic, compassionate, and respectful care that facilitates healing and enables wellbeing.

The three parts of this book discuss writings from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania that implore societies to shatter the devastating social stigmas which prevent billions from accessing effective care; to increase the availability of quality person-focused healthcare; and to prioritize partnerships that facilitate healing and enable wellbeing for both patients and loved ones.

Thornber’s Global Healing remaps the contours of comparative literature, world literature, the medical humanities, and the health humanities.
in Global Healing
in Global Healing