The Book of Swindles review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Yinghui Wu’s review of The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia UP, 2017), by Zhang Yingyu, translated by Christoper Rea and Bruce Rusk. The review appears below and at My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

The Book of Swindles
Selections from a Late Ming Collection

By Zhang Yingyu

Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk

Reviewed by Yinghui Wu
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2018)

Zhang Yingyu, The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection Trs. Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. xxxvi, 226 pp. $25. ISBN 978-0-231-17863-1 (paperback); $75, ISBN 9780231178624 (hardcover)

The Book of Swindles, by Zhang Yingyu 張應俞 (fl. 1612-17), is a collection of fascinating tales that speak to a common concern over time and across cultures—namely, anxiety about deception. A product of the publishing boom in seventeenth-century China, with a preface dated 1617, the book is “said to be the first Chinese story collection focused explicitly on the topic of fraud” (xiii). Ostensibly a manual for self-protection against scams, it belongs to a rich body of publications that promise to help their readers navigate the increasingly complex and perilous world of late Ming China.[1]Yet, this book serves equally well as a manual for swindlers (xiv).The author, also speaking as the commentator on his stories, often marvels at the crooks’ ingenuity while lamenting the moral decline of his age and blaming the victims for their folly or naïveté. The forty-four stories, elegantly translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk, offer a valuable source for specialists of late imperial China, as well as a good read for anyone looking for entertainment. Continue reading

Writing Beijing review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Lena Scheen’s review of Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginaries in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Films (Lexington Books, 2016), by Yiran Zheng. The review appears below and and at: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginations
in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Films

By Yiran Zheng

Reviewed by Lena Scheen
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2018)

Yiran Zheng, Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginations in Contemporary Literature and Film Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016. v-xviii + 149 pp. ISBN: Hardback 978-1-4985-3101-6 • $79.00; ISBN: Paperback 978-1-4985-3103-0 • $42.99; ISBN: eBook 978-1-4985-3102-3  • $40.50

It was a map of Beijing that sparked Yiran Zheng’s interest in the subject for her book Writing Beijing: Urban Spaces and Cultural Imaginations in Contemporary Literature and Film. Looking at the city’s distinctive spatial structure of “square-like loops” (x), formed by its major ring roads, she noticed how one can read the history of the city in its architectural shape; from its centermost area, still largely consisting of narrow alleyways (胡同) lined with traditional Beijing-style courtyard houses (四合院), through the three- to four-story Soviet-style apartment blocks built from the 1950s to the 1970s (between the 2nd and 3rd ring roads), to the modern high rises that have sprung up since the 1980s (between the 3rd and 4th ring roads), and the recently built townhouses and single-family houses (outside the 4th ring road). In Writing Beijing, Zheng takes three of the city’s representative urban spaces—courtyard houses, military compounds, and (post)modern architecture—as the basis of the book’s three-part structure. Each part itself consists of three chapters. The first chapters of each part (chapters 1, 4, 7) investigate particular buildings and architecture as “representations of space” and analyze how they “reflect, embody, and implement power relations, such as power of the state and power between different social groups” (xii). The second chapters (2, 5, 8) discuss representative writers and filmmakers whose work either prominently features the particular space or reflects how residing there influenced them. The third and final chapters of each part (3, 6, 9) analyze literary representations of these urban forms in novels and films, “namely, how the city is perceived and presented in literature and film, as well as why they choose particular spaces to carry their imaginations” (xii). Continue reading

China Literature shares plunge

Source: Reuters (8/13/18)
China Literature shares plunge after user numbers slide, news of $2.3 billion deal
By Kane Wu

A company logo of China Literature is displayed during a news conference on its IPO in Hong Kong, China October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China Literature Ltd (0772.HK)’s shares slid as much as 14.6 percent on Tuesday, after it reported first-half results that showed a drop in the average number of monthly paying users and announced a $2.3 billion acquisition.

Shares in China Literature, an online literary reading and writing platform backed by Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), fell to HK$57.4 in morning trade, the lowest since China Literature’s initial public offering last November. Continue reading

English translations of Yu Xiuhua’s poems (1,2)

I don’t know any formal publication of her works in English, but if you go watch the documentary film called 摇摇晃晃的人间(Still Tomorrow), Yu read some poems by herself and the subtitles are in English.


Wei Yuan <>


The current issue (July 2018) of World Literature Today has my essay on Yu Xiuhua “A Life Lived in Poetry” which contains excepts of her poems in translation. In addition, Ming Di contributed the translations of two poems. You can have a limited viewing of both on

Dian Li <>

“The Metaphor Detox Centre” excerpt

Source: (8/5/18)
Dystopia with Chinese Characteristics: An Excerpt from Sheng Keyi’s “The Metaphor Detox Centre”

Journalist Yao Minzhu became acquainted with a few fellow patients at the centre. Like them, she’d heard of shelters, treatment centres for drug addiction, mental health clinics and so on, but only once she was dispatched to the Metaphor Detox Centre did she learn of its existence. She read the following introduction on the wall of the centre’s reception hall:

As a society’s level of civilization progresses, new illnesses will always emerge to threaten the physical and mental health of the people. The Metaphor Malady is one such disease. It is a form of mental illness, but one that does not entirely belong to the psychological domain. During its initial stage it is not easily detectable; in its middle stage it affects social stability; and in the latter stage involves descent into a manic state of which the patient is unaware. Its potential for contagion and harm is not inferior to a ton of dynamite placed within a crowd.

At present, newly diagnosed cases are growing at a rate of over fifty per cent, sufferers in the mid- or late-stage account for eight per cent of the total affected population, and the mortality rate is four per cent. The government has allocated specialists and funds to establish the Metaphor Detox Centre, which is devoted to servicing the afflicted. The great majority do recover, and relapses are rare. Since the Centre was established it has repeatedly won praise from the authorities.

(The Metaphor Detox Center, excerpted from Sheng Keyi’s new novel, 锦灰.  This passage translated from the Chinese by Bruce Humes. Foreign language rights agent: Andrew Nurnberg)

The Quint–cfp

The Quint is an online peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal hosted by the University College of the North (see link: The journal is MLA indexed and archived in the National Library in Ottawa. This spring, we have celebrated the journal’s 10th anniversary.

We are planning on doing a special issue on Chinese Literature and Culture to be published June 2019. I will be the guest editor of this special issue.

So, I am reaching out to Chinese scholars who will be willing to submit an article to be published in this special issue. My expectation is articles about Chinese Literature, Cinema, Culture, Religion, Language and images. Translation pieces are also welcome. I want to avoid articles from solely theoretical studies, to focus only on articles with a “human face”, something anyone can read, understand and able to relate with.

There is no royalty of your article; there is no charge for publishing nor editing your article either.  Your articles must be unpublished previously. Copyright of the contribution accepted for publication in the quint is retained by the Contributor.

The deadline for submission is by October 30, 2018.
The admission notice will be by December 21, 2018.
The publication will be June 1, 2019.

Please find the Contributors’ Guideline is

Thank you very much.

Ying Kong, Ph.D
English Department
Faculty of Arts, Business and Science
University College of the North

Changpian no. 20

长篇 // Changpian // Longform

Welcome to the 20th edition of Changpian, a selection of feature and opinion writing in Chinese. With other resources devoted to the many interesting sound bites from Chinese social media, this newsletter focuses instead on some of the wealth of longer writing that is produced in Chinese, both in traditional news media and on platforms like WeChat. Changpian includes any nonfiction writing, from stories and investigations to interviews and blog posts, that I found worth my time – and that you might like as well. It aims to be relevant to an understanding of Chinese society today, covering topics in and outside the news cycle. The selection is put together by me, Tabitha Speelman, a Dutch journalist and researcher currently based in Leiden, The Netherlands. Feedback is very welcome ( or @tabithaspeelman). Back issues can be found here.

Lots of writing to choose from this month. Thanks for reading. Changpian will skip an issue and be back in October.

干货// Ganhuo // Dry Goods

In this section, I highlight any (loose) themes that stood out in my recent reading.

The on-going small explosion of Chinese writing on #MeToo and gender issues follows a new, large wave of sexual harassment accusations within higher education, civil society and the media. Many note the debate is surprisingly diverse and worthwhile. A couple of articles that stood out to me (and that I saw working links to):

An Initium piece in which several women involved in exposing harassment at 中山大学in Guangzhou explain their careful activism (see here for a WeChat version) predates this past week’s media storm. The women respond to gender studies scholar Huang Yingying, who wrote a more cautious piece on the movement for a policy journal calling for a ‘localized’ definition of sexual harassment. Continue reading

Little Reunions review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Roy Bing Chan’s review of Little Reunions (New York Review of Books Classics, 2018), by Eileen Chang, translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz. The review appears below and can be read online at: My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Little Reunions

By Eileen Chang

Translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz

Reviewed by Roy Bing Chan
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2018)

Chang, Eileen. Little Reunions  Trs. Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz. New York: New York Review of Books, 2018. ix + 332 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1-68137-127-6 (Paperback $16.95)

Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz’s English translation of Eileen Chang’s Little Reunions (小團圓) will bring a wider appreciation for the scope of Chang’s literary production. The manuscript, completed in 1976, was left unpublished in Chang’s lifetime, an exemplar of the Russian idiom pisat’ v stol, or “writing for the drawer.” It did not appear in print until 2009, twenty-four years after her death. The novel loosely mirrors key moments in Chang’s own life and readers intrigued by Chang’s biography will flock to this book looking for more insights into her personal enigmas. But from another angle, the novel stands as a testament of how to narrate a life undone by history, all the while expressing the persistent desire to remain ultimately free from any historical overdetermination. Continue reading

Sha Yexin dead at 79

Source: (7/27/18)
著名剧作家沙叶新去世 曾在《围城》中饰曹元朗
2018年07月27日 08:57 新浪娱乐



新浪娱乐讯 7月27日,《周渔的火车》《公民凯恩》等书的作者北村在微博上宣布著名剧作家沙叶新去世。



The Borderlands of Asia review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Wei-chieh Tsai’s review of The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry (Cambria 2017), introduced and edited by Mark Bender. The review appears below and can be read online at: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Enjoy, Kirk A. Denton, editor

The Borderlands of Asia: 
Culture, Place, Poetry

Introduced and Edited by Mark Bender

Reviewed by Wei-chieh Tsai
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2018)

Mark Bender, ed. The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2017. v-xxii + 370 pp. ISBN: Hardcover 9781604979763 (USD 119.99)

Edited by Mark Bender, a specialist of Chinese literature and folklore at The Ohio State University, this book is a collection of poems penned by writers from various Asian border regions—Northeast India, Myanmar, the Southwest and Inner Asian frontiers of China, and Mongolia. Although some of the poems, especially those by Northeast Indian poets, were originally written in English, most are translations—from Burmese, Mongolian, Chinese, Tibetan, Nuoso, Hani, Khasi, and Manipuri—done by a group of translators. In translating these poems into English, the global “language of interaction” (p. xxi), the voices of poets from the borderlands of Asia can be heard by a wider audience. Bender’s informative introduction gives his readers a broad context for understanding the complicated histories and cultures of the areas and the poets included in the volume. Continue reading

The Organization of Distance

Dear MCLC List

I am thrilled to announce Brill’s publication of my monograph, The Organization of Distance: Poetry, Translation, Chineseness, Sinica Leidensia Vol. 141:

What makes a Chinese poem “Chinese”? Some call modern Chinese poetry insufficiently Chinese, saying it is so influenced by foreign texts that it has lost the essence of Chinese culture as known in premodern poetry. Yet that argument overlooks how premodern regulated verse was itself created in imitation of foreign poetics. Looking at Bian Zhilin 卞之琳 and Yang Lian 楊煉 in the twentieth century alongside medieval Chinese poets such as Wang Wei 王維, Du Fu 杜甫, and Li Shangyin 李商隱, The Organization of Distance applies the notions of foreignization and nativization to Chinese poetry to argue that the impression of poetic Chineseness has long been a product of translation, from forces both abroad and in the past.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Great Wall and the Tower of Babel: On Chinese Poetry as Translation Continue reading

Memorial service of Liu Xiaobo in Berlin

The Geistkämpfer (spiritual fighter) by Ernst Barlach. Source: online photo.

Memorial Service for Liu Xiaobo in Berlin, Gethsemane church, one year after his passing.

I wasn’t sure if I should post this or not. Maybe Ian Johnson would do it, or someone else more involved with the event. Anyway, seems it’s going to be a grand thing. A reminder there are some things politics and the arts both can and should try to stand for. In Berlin, in Germany, in Europe, anywhere. Solidarity, for once.

The announcement in English and in Chinese is on China Change.
I have done a German translation from the Chinese version and put it on my blog.

In 2010 I translated Bei Ling’s biography of Liu Xiaobo into German. It was a rush job, but I checked the facts. It’s an interesting book. Continue reading

Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul B. Foster’s review of Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung (Cambria, 2018), by Carolyn T. Brown. The review appears below and can be read online at: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung

By Carolyn T. Brown

Reviewed by Paul B. Foster
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2018)

Carolyn T. Brown, Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2018. ix-xv + 293 pp. ISBN 978-1-60497-937-4 (Cloth $114.99).

Reading Lu Xun through Carl Jung is an amply annotated, firmly grounded, and compelling close reading of Lu Xun’s short stories from the perspective of Jungian psychoanalysis. This book is also a refreshing demonstration of how psychoanalysis can provide a new dimension of access to Lu Xun’s critical insight into the problems of the Chinese psyche vis-à-vis the social discourse of his age. The author shows familiarity with the main trends in Western Lu Xun studies, from the earlier works of Leo Ou-fan Lee, Theodore Huters, and Marston Anderson, to more recent critiques by Lydia Liu and Ming Dong Gu, just to name a few. Brown is concerned with what makes Lu Xun tick, not the authorial intention of his creative works, but his own inner workings as he grapples with issues of the Chinese people’s psyche, issues he himself faces and works out through his writing. Brown’s Jungian model, which includes a bifurcated ego/shadow inner tension, yields intriguing explanations concerning the process of therapy and identification of a cure—both for self and society—primarily grounded in challenging the individual’s resistance to change. Reading Lu Xun is dense (especially for novitiates to psychological analysis) but rewarding. It is composed of a detailed introduction, four main chapters, a conclusion, and an epilogue. Occasional in-text simplified Chinese characters are used for story titles and critical terminology. Continue reading

Chinese Literature Today 7.1

Dear MCLC List members,

I am pleased to announce that Chinese Literature Today 7.1 (2018) is now available on the Routledge website (

Ping Zhu, Deputy Editor in Chief, Chinese Literature Today



4 Introduction, by Nathaniel Isaacson
6 The Great Wall, by Han Song
12 The Fundamental Nature of the Universe, by Han Song
16 Earth Is Flat, by Han Song
20 Science Fiction and the Avant-Garde Spirit: An Interview with Han Song, by Chiara Cigarini
23 Evolution or Samsara?: Spatio-Temporal Myth in Han Song’s Science Fiction, by Wang Yao
28 Eerie Parables and Prophecies: An Analysis of Han Song’s Science Fiction, by Li Guangyi
33 Han Song and the Dream of Reason, by Carlos Rojas Continue reading

The Translatability of Revolution

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce the publication of my book, The Translatability of Revolution: Guo Moruo and Twentieth-Century Chinese Culture, by Pu Wang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2018. 325 pages, 9 figures. ISBN 9780674987180. Below please find an abstract and the Table of Contents. I look forward to your criticism! Thanks!

Best regards, Pu Wang <>

About the Book:

The first comprehensive study of the lifework of Guo Moruo (1892–1978) in English, this book explores the dynamics of translation, revolution, and historical imagination in twentieth-century Chinese culture. Guo was a romantic writer who eventually became Mao Zedong’s last poetic interlocutor; a Marxist historian who evolved into the inaugural president of China’s Academy of Sciences; and a leftist politician who devoted almost three decades to translating Goethe’s Faust. His career, embedded in China’s revolutionary century, has generated more controversy than admiration. Recent scholarship has scarcely treated his oeuvre as a whole, much less touched upon his role as a translator. Continue reading