Book of Swindles

Dear colleagues,

Bruce Rusk and I are delighted to announce the publication of The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia, 2017). This year happens to be the 400th anniversary of the earliest datable edition, and the theme has some contemporary relevance.

Best,

Christopher Rea <leiqinfeng@gmail.com>

The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection
By Zhang Yingyu. Translated by Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk.
Columbia University Press, 2017
ISBN: 9780231178631

This is an age of deception. Con men ply the roadways. Bogus alchemists pretend to turn one piece of silver into three. Devious nuns entice young women into adultery. Sorcerers use charmed talismans for mind control and murder. A pair of dubious monks extorts money from a powerful official and then spends it on whoring. A rich student tries to bribe the chief examiner, only to hand his money to an imposter. A eunuch kidnaps boys and consumes their “essence” in an attempt to regrow his penis. These are just a few of the entertaining and surprising tales to be found in this seventeenth-century work, said to be the earliest Chinese collection of swindle stories. Continue reading

Beijing International Book Fair 2017 overview

Source: China Daily (9/5/17)
Far beyond printed words
By Mei Jia | China Daily

Far beyond printed words

Chinese Nobel laureate Mo Yan meets some sinologists at the book fair. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Publishers at the 24th Beijing International Book Fair say cooperation and integration are the two words which describe the event that wrapped up on Aug 27.

At the event, 5,262 deals were struck, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with the figures in 2016. The deals covered 3,244 Chinese titles that were sold or will be co-published overseas, says the fair’s organizer. The ratio of titles sold compared with titles bought was 1.6:1, meaning that China is now selling rights to more titles than it is buying.

The organizer also says that the rights relate to books on China’s development, children’s books, literature, education, economics and philosophy. Continue reading

Chinese Poetry Festival 2017

Source: China Daily (9/5/17)
Poetry for all ages
By Chen Nan | China Daily

More than 30 Chinese artists, including renowned TV host Chen Duo and actor Han Tongsheng, will gather in Yichang city of Central China’s Hubei province on Sept 12 to mark one of the country’s key contributions to humanity--Chinese poetry.

The artists will recite poems in an opening gala for the fifth Chinese Poetry Festival, billed as the biggest poetry event in the country.

The event also opens with singing, dancing and instrumental performances.

The festival, which runs through Sept 17, is organized by the Ministry of Culture and the China Writers Association. It aims to celebrate the power of poetry in all its forms and will treat the public to traditional and contemporary works, along with forums and other related activities. Continue reading

The Yangtze and My Father

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul E. Festa’s translation “The Yangtze and My Father: A Love Story,” by Yuan Jinmei. The essay appears below and can be read at its permanent home here:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/festa2/

Enjoy,

Kirk Denton, editor

The Yangtze and My Father: 
A Love Story

By Yuan Jinmei [1]

Translated by Paul E. Festa


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September 2017)


Yuan Jinmei

When I was young, I never knew fish got sick, birds became poisoned, kids died. My father, however, was well aware. He was a biologist. After he died, I learned from his students that fish from the Yangtze River are inedible. Birds fly in the cogon grass of the Yangtze’s riparian zone; they flutter and fly, and plunge and die—it’s lead poisoning. Children raised near the river, young children, contract liver cancer.

Before people knew why, the great Yangtze—the legendary river that for so long flowed from the horizon into eternal poems and paintings—suddenly lost its halcyon aura as the carefree setting for the solitary swan under sunset clouds, suddenly found its expansive bosom heretofore unfailingly open to all and sundry sailing ships now closed. The Yangtze, suddenly, became our enemy. Continue reading

Old Fool: Elegy for a Monkey

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul E. Festa’s translation “Old Fool: Elegy for a Monkey” (老傻), by Hu Fayun 胡发云. The essay, which mourns the death of a smuggled rare monkey, was widely circulated online. The essay appears below, but is best read at its online home: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/festa/. Enjoy.

Kirk Denton, editor

Old Fool
Elegy for a Monkey

By Hu Fayun [1]

Translated by Paul E. Festa


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August 2017)


Hu Fayun

Old Fool is a tiny monkey.  He’s not a kind of monkey we commonly see, but one that’s on the verge of extinction.

Early last winter, my wife returned from the wet market and reported seeing a peddler selling two tiny monkeys; they were caged in a wire rattrap, curled up pitifully into little balls and huddled together to escape the cold.  Each time my wife returned from the wet market she brought back a few of these heartrending stories: about a wounded muntjac deer with melancholy eyes; about a few small hedgehogs fighting fruitlessly to break free from a nylon net bag; about a row of brilliantly plumaged golden pheasant corpses; about a small squirrel struggling in the scorching sun for its final dying breath; about a clowder of cats crushed together and yowling piteously in chorus. There were also small squawking quail bouncing frenziedly in a basket, bare and bloody from being plucked featherless while alive. There were frogs, tortoises, soft-shelled turtles, and snakes—all of which, as recipes prescribe, had been skinned alive. There were also those docile and adorable pigeons, rabbits, and lambs. For these small creatures, every wet market is their Auschwitz concentration camp. Continue reading

Guo Jingming accused of sexual harassment

Source: Sup China (8/22/17)
Employee alleges popular author Guo Jingming sexually harassed him
By Jiayun Feng

“I don’t care if Guo is gay or not. It’s a private matter and it doesn’t change the fact that his works are crap.”

“I stay neutral with no evidence provided. But what upsets me the most is that Guo is no longer a writer, he is a pure businessman who only wants money.”

These were two reactions to allegations about one of China’s richest writers, the young-adult fiction author and publisher Guo Jingming 郭敬明. He found himself subjected to a barrage of criticism (in Chinese) online, after Li Feng 李枫, a male author who signed up with Guo’s publishing company, accused Guo of sexual harassment on August 21. Continue reading

Beyond the Iron House

For those list members who might be interested in my book Beyond the Iron House: Lu Xun and the Modern Chinese Literary Field, originally published by Tsinghua University Press in 2014, I’d like to share with you the news that it has been republished by Routledge (2017). See details below.

Sun Saiyin, Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Description

Beyond the Iron House is a critical study of a crucial period of life and work of the modern Chinese writer Lu Xun. Through thorough research into historical materials and archives, the author demonstrates that Lu Xun was recognized in the literary field much later than has hitherto been argued. Neither the appearance of “Kuangren riji” (Diary of a madman) in 1918 nor the publication of Nahan (Outcry) in 1923 had catapulted the author into nationwide prominence; in comparison with his contemporaries, neither was his literary work as original and unique as many have claimed, nor were his thoughts and ideas as popular and influential as many have believed; like many other agents in the literary field, Lu Xun was actively involved in power struggles over what was at stake in the field; Lu Xun was later built into an iconic figure and the blind worship of him hindered a better and more authentic understanding of many other modern writers and intellectuals such as Gao Changhong and Zhou Zuoren, whose complex relationships with Lu Xun are fully explored and analysed in the book.

https://www.routledge.com/Beyond-the-Iron-House-Lu-Xun-and-the-Modern-Chinese-Literary-Field/Sun/p/book/9781138670822

Poet held in southern China

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>
Source: Radio Free Asia (8/22/17)
Poet Held in Southern China Over Planned Poetry Anthology Remembering Liu Xiaobo

Wu Minglang at a police station in Guangzhou in an undated photo. Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have criminally detained a poet after he compiled an anthology to commemorate late Nobel peace laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died last month of liver cancer in police custody.

Wu Minglang, 49, known by his pen-name Langzi, was detained in Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou on Aug. 18 on suspicion of “illegal business activity.”

A copy of his initial statement showed that he was interviewed by “law enforcement from the Haizhu District State Administration for Press and Publications, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). Continue reading

Yu Xiuhua’s path to celebrity

Source: NYT (8/18/17)
A Chinese Poet’s Unusual Path From Isolated Farm Life to Celebrity
查看简体中文版  / 查看繁體中文版
By KIKI ZHAO

Yu Xiuhua in the farmhouse in Hengdian where she grew up and began writing the passionate poetry that has caused a sensation in China. CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

HENGDIAN, China — The woman who has become one of China’s most-read poets — even hailed as its Emily Dickinson — spent most of her 41 years in a brick farmhouse tucked away behind trees and surrounded by wheat fields.

Most days she would limp down a dirt lane to a pond to feed the fish. She cut grass, grasping a sickle with hands that did not always obey her, to feed her rabbits. In the shade near the house she wrote at a low table, struggling to control her shaking body — a symptom of the cerebral palsy that she has lived with since she was born in this village in the central province of Hubei.

Then, in 2014, her life changed. Continue reading

Interview with Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

Source: Writing Chinese (8/1/17)
Interview: Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

Our Bookclub Author of the Month for August 2017 is Tammy Ho Lai-Ming. Find out more about Tammy and work, and read three of her poems on our Bookclub page here. We’re delighted that Tammy has taken the time out of her extremely busy schedule to answer some of our questions!

Tell us more about your writing – have you always written in English? 

When I was at school, I wrote poems and stories in Chinese. They had hardly any literary merit; they were just silly little nothings, scribblings. I did write a novella, following the style of Xi Xi’s A Girl Like Me, in Chinese. But the hand-written manuscript—the only copy I had—is long lost. I vaguely remember the story, which is about a bored Hong Kong girl working in a stifling office and her fanciful dreams, which are in fact quite modest. Continue reading

Online literature franchises

Source: Global Times (7/13/17)
Top 10 online literature writers in China have created franchises worth a staggering 1 billion yuan ($150 million) each
Hurun’s list of most valuable literature IPs reflects growing power of online works
By Huang Tingting

Rupert Hoogewerf (left) and Wang Yuren pose for a picture at a press conference for the Mopian Hurun Most Valuable Creative Works IP 2017 list in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Courtesy of the Hurun Report

The top 10 online literature writers in China have created franchises worth a staggering 1 billion yuan ($150 million) each, Rupert Hoogewerf – better known in China as Hu Run, the British founder and chief researcher of the Hurun Report – announced at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Hurun Research Institute and domestic IP management agency Mopian released the Mopian Hurun Most Valuable Creative Works IP 2017 list, which lists the top 100 most valuable literature IPs in China after 1998. Continue reading

Fake lives in Beijing (1)

Source: Sup China (7/28/17)
Author of hit ‘faking a life in Beijing’ article apologizes, sorta
By Jiayun Feng

As we noted yesterday, the caustic essay “In Beijing, 20 million people are faking a life,” which became a controversial and viral sensation in China in the last few days, also provoked an unusual reprimand from several state media organizations, including the People’s Daily and Xinhua. Now the essay’s author, Zhang Wumao 张五毛, has apologized for not being discreet enough when writing the essay, and begged media “not to magnify my mistake into a matter of principle” in an interview (in Chinese) with The Economic Observer.

“This is an article with many problems. In fact, I didn’t intend to express anything. I was just being contrarian and trying to amuse readers,” Zhang said. “I didn’t realize that I was wrongly contrarian and trying to amuse wrongly. I don’t want to cause more troubles and make anyone upset about it.” Continue reading

Fake lives in Beijing

Source: Sup China (7/28/17)
Xinhua: No fake lives in Beijing
By Jiayun Feng

On July 23, Chinese blogger and novelist Zhang Wumao 张五毛 published an essay titled “In Beijing, 20 million people are faking a life” on WeChat (see a translation including the original Chinese). The article went viral, generating more than 5 million views and nearly 20,000 comments overnight. Although the essay has been scrubbed from the Chinese internet, it has triggered a heated debate and sparked a series of countering articles, including some by state media such as the People’s Daily and Xinhua.

Zhang’s essay is caustically funny. He writes about the alienation of people living in a Beijing that is too big, too polluted and congested, and too expensive. At least for migrants: Zhang writes about rich old Beijingers who have “five apartments under their butts,” while the people from the provinces who do most of the work in the city struggle to afford even a tiny house in the outer suburbs. He also writes about the ongoing teardown of small shops and restaurants — mostly owned by non-locals — and how the years of destruction mean that even old Beijingers don’t really have a home to go back to. The essay ends: Continue reading

Remember Little, Forget More

Source: China Daily (7/27/17)
Woman writer from Xinjiang features her life in new book
By Li Hongrui

Woman writer from Xinjiang features her life in new book

Remember Little, Forget More. [Photo/amazon.cn]

Li Juan, a Xinjiang-based writer born in the 1970s, has won wide acclaim for her prose featuring Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region since she wrote for a newspaper.

Having published eight books, she saw her latest work published recently after five years of break.

The new book, Remember Little, Forget More (Ji Yi Wang San Er), is a collection of prose about her life, especially her childhood in Xinjiang.

Although born in a small town in Xinjiang, Li is the child of immigrants from Sichuan province. She also once stayed in Sichuan for some time when she was young. Continue reading