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After piloting an emperor the age of a college student through China’s most drastic government reforms before the modern era, Wang Anshi (1021—1086) retreated to his Halfway Hill villa at Nanjing, where in late middle age he became one of the Northern Song’s three or four most innovative poets.
He redirected the craft of composing high-stakes policy papers into lighter-than-air evocations of clear-eyed grief, sensuous Buddhism, and intricate reactions to rain on the river or donkey-riding up Bell Mountain. Acrimony over his redesigned government, which he lived just long enough to see totally dismantled, remains relevant to Chinese politics and economics. Published during his thousand-year jubilee, this first full English biography since 1937 draws on Wang’s essays, poems, and his vivid, seldom-explored throne-room diary.
Abhinavagupta on Dance and Dramatic Acting
Author: Elisa Ganser
What is Dance? What is Theatre? What is the boundary between enacting a character and narrating a story? When does movement become tinted with meaning? And when does beauty shine alone as if with no object? These universal aesthetic questions find a theoretically vibrant and historically informed set of replies in the oeuvre of the eleventh-century Kashmirian author Abhinavagupta. The present book offers the first critical edition, translation, and study of a crucial and lesser known passage of his commentary on the Nāṭyaśāstra, the seminal work of Sanskrit dramaturgy. The nature of dramatic acting and the mimetic power of dance, emotions, and beauty all play a role in Abhinavagupta’s thorough investigation of performance aesthetics, now presented to the modern reader.
Its Social and Cultural Significance
Author: Jiří Jákl
Author: Rita Banerjee
Comparing the variant ideologies of the representations of India in seventeenth-century European travelogues, India in Early Modern English Travel Narratives concerns a relatively neglected area of study and often overlooked writers. Relating the narratives to contemporary ideas and beliefs, Rita Banerjee argues that travel-writers, many of them avid Protestants, seek to negativize India by constructing her in opposition to Europe, the supposed norm, by deliberately erasing affinities and indulging in the politics of disavowal. However, some travelogues show a neutral stance by dispassionate ethnographic reporting, indicating a growing empirical trend. Yet others, influenced by the Enlightenment ideas of diversity, demonstrate tolerance of alien practices and, occasionally, acceptance of the superior rationality of the other's customs.
Textualization and Performance, Authorship and Censorship of the “National Drama” of China from the Late Qing to the Present
Author: David Rolston
What was the most influential mass medium in China before the internet? Jingju (Peking opera)! Although its actors were commonly thought to have been illiterate, written and other inscripted versions of plays became more and more important and varied.
This book shows how increasing textualization and the resulting fixation of a performance tradition that once privileged improvisation changed the genre. It traces, from Jingju’s birth in the 19th century to the present, how texts were used for the production and consumption of this important performance genre and the changes in the concepts of authorship, copyright, and performance rights that took place during the process. The state’s desire to police what was performed is shown to have been a major factor in these changes.
The scope and coverage of the book is already unprecedented, but it is also supplemented by an additional chapter (on where the plays were performed, who performed them, and who went to see them) available for download online.
Author: Zaifu Liu
Volume Editors: Howard Y. F. Choy and Jianmei Liu
Liu Zaifu 劉再復 is a name that has already been ingrained within contemporary Chinese literary history. This landmark volume presents Anglophone readers with Liu’s profound reflections on Chinese literature and culture at different times. The essays collected here demonstrate Liu’s historical experience and trajectory as an exiled Chinese intellectual who persistently safeguards the individuality and the autonomy of literature, refusing to succumb to political manipulation.

Liu’s theory of literary subjectivity has opened ways for Chinese writers to thrive and innovate. His panoramic view not only unravels the intricate interplay between literature and politics but also firmly regards the transcendental value of literature as a significant ground to subvert revolutionary dogmatism and criticize Chinese modernity. Rather than drawing upon the existing paradigm, he reinvents his own unique theoretical conceptions in order to exile the borrowed “gods.”
Author: Alexander Vovin
“The echo of the stone/ where I carved the [Buddha’s] honorable footprints/ reaches the Heaven, […]”.
This book presents the transcription, translation, and analysis of Chinese (753 AD) and Japanese inscriptions (end of the 8th century AD) found on two stones now in the possession of the Yakushiji temple in Nara. All these inscriptions praise the footprints of Buddha, and more exactly their carvings in the stone. The language of the Japanese inscription, which consists of twenty-one poems, reflects the contemporary dialect of Nara. Its writing system shows a quite unique trait, being practically monophonic. The book is richly illustrated by photos of the temple and of the inscriptions.
Zhu Guangqian’s Life and Philosophy: An Introduction is Mario Sabattini’s last uncompleted work dedicated to the work of Zhu Guangqian, one of the most representative figures of contemporary Chinese aesthetics. Since the '30s, Zhu Guangqian had an active role in China both on the literary and philosophical scenes, and, through his writings, he exerted an important influence in the moulding of numerous generations of intellectuals. Some of his works have been widely read, and they still provoke considerable interest in China, on the mainland as well as in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Crossing Cultural Boundaries in East Asia and Beyond explores the personal complexities and ambiguities, and the successes and failures, of crossing borders and boundaries. While the focus is on East Asia, it universalizes cultural anxieties with comparative cases in Russia and the United States. The authors primarily engage the individual experiences of border-crossing, rather than more typically those of political or social groups located at territorial boundaries. Drawing on those individual experiences, this volume presents an array of attempts to negotiate the discomforts of crossing personal borders, and attends to the intimate experiences of border crossers, whether they are traveling to an unfamiliar cultural location or encountering the “other” in local settings such as the classroom or the coffee shop.
Asian Studies for Albert Hoffstädt
Albert Hoffstädt, a classicist by training and polylingual humanist by disposition, has for 25 years been the editor chiefly responsible for the development and acquisition of manuscripts in Asian Studies for Brill. During that time he has shepherded over 700 books into print and has distinguished himself as a figure of exceptional discernment and insight in academic publishing. He has also become a personal friend to many of his authors. A subset of these authors here offers to him in tribute and gratitude 22 essays on various topics in Asian Studies. These include studies on premodern Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean literature, history, and religion, extending also into the modern and contemporary periods. They display the broad range of Mr. Hoffstädt's interests while presenting some of the most outstanding scholarship in Asian Studies today.