Revolution and Its Narratives review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Nicolai Volland’s review of Revolution and Its Narratives: China’s Socialist Literary and Cultural Imaginaries, 1949-1966 (Duke University Press, 2016), by Cai Xiang. The review appears below but is best read online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/volland/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Enjoy,
Kirk Denton, editor

Revolution and Its Narratives: China’s Socialist
Literary and Cultural Imaginaries, 1949-1966

By Cai Xiang
Edited and translated by Rebecca E. Karl and Xueping Zhong


Reviewed by Nicolai Volland
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2017)


Cai Xiang, Revolution and Its Narratives: China’s Socialist Literary and Cultural Imaginaries, 1949-1966. Ed. and trans. by Rebecca E. Karl and Xueping Zhong. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016. xxix, 450 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-8223-6069-8.

The past decade has witnessed a renaissance of studies on Chinese socialist cultural production—including literature of the 1950s and early 1960s as well as that of the Cultural Revolution. This trend is observable in both English- and Chinese-language scholarship. Dialogue between these academic communities, however, remains limited, at least as far as published output is concerned. While translators have made available to Chinese readers many English-language studies of, say, Republican era history, the amount of literary criticism translated into Chinese remains limited (with the exception of theory); this is especially so for critical studies of post-1949 literature. Flows in the opposite direction, from Chinese to English, are an even rarer species. Nonetheless, several translation initiatives over the past decade have set out to bring more of contemporary Chinese literary criticism to the attention of English readers. These include Hong Zicheng’s (洪子誠) A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature, translated by Michael Day; and Debating the Socialist Legacy and Capitalist Globalization, a volume of essays edited by Xueping Zhong and Ban Wang.[1] With Cai Xiang’s (蔡翔) Revolution and Its Narratives, translated by Rebecca Karl and Xueping Zhong, we are given a monograph-length study that contains a wealth of fresh and original observations on literature from the 1950s and 1960s, all the while offering insights into current (21st century) academic debates in China. Continue reading

Milena Doleželová-Velingerová Memorial Prize donations

As mentioned in a posting a few weeks ago, the authors of the volume Crossing between Tradition and Modernity: Essays in Commemoration of Milena Doleželová-Velingerová (1932-2012) (Prague: Karolinum Press, 2016) have donated the royalties to MCLC to create the Milena Doleželová-Velingerová Memorial Prize. The (possibly) annual prize will be awarded to the best essay published in the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture in a calendar year. The royalties from the book are not enough to sustain the fund for more than a couple of years, so I am appealing to the MCLC community to consider making a donation. Any amount would help. There’s a “DONATE MONEY” link on the main page of the MCLC site (http://u.osu.edu/mclc/). Or you can go directly to the link below (it’s a secured site):

https://www.giveto.osu.edu/makeagift/OnlineGivingDonation.aspx?Source_Code=WA&Fund=301588

I hope you will consider making a donation. We would be most grateful.

Kirk A. Denton
Editor, MCLC

Camel · Nietzschean and Woman

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Sean Macdonald’s translation of “Camel · Nietzschean and Woman,” by Mu Shiying, as part of our online publication series. The translation appears below and online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/macdonald/

Enjoy,

Kirk Denton, editor

Camel · Nietzschean and Woman

By Mu Shiying[1]

Translated by Sean Macdonald


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April 2017)


I

The spirit will become a camel.

Many heavy things await the spirit over there, await that weight-bearing, strong, and awesome spirit: because the heavy and the heaviest things are able to increase its strength.

“What is heavy anyway?” So asks the weight-bearing spirit; thus it kneels down like a camel, preparing to be well laden again.

“What is the heaviest thing, you heroes?” asks the weight-bearing spirit. “Allow me to bear those things, so that I may rejoice in my strength.”

. . . all those heavy things, the weight-bearing spirit takes it all onto its back, like a laden camel galloping toward the desert, the spirit thus speeds toward its desert. (from “Of the Three Metamorphoses” in Thus Spoke Zarathustra)[2] Continue reading

Interview with Chen Qiufan

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce Sun Mengtian’s interview with science fiction writer Chen Qiufan. The interview, which was conducted in Chinese in December of last year, is here translated into English. The interview appears below and can be read online at:

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

Enjoy,
Kirk Denton, editor

China and Chinese SF:
Interview with Chen Qiufan

By Sun Mengtian

Interview conducted in Chinese, translated by Sun Mengtian


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April 2017)


Chen Qiufan. Courtesy of Chen Qiufan

Chen Qiufan (陈楸帆), also known as Stanley Chan, is one of the leading figures of a young generation of Chinese Science Fiction (SF) writers who were born in the 1980s. His work has won multiple awards, including Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award, China’s Milky Way Award for Science Fiction, and China’s Nebula Award for Science Fiction. His stories often revolve around contemporary social, political and economic problems in China, thus many critics describe his SF as “realist SF.” Many of his stories are characteristic of the Cyberpunk subgenre, and he is oftentimes called “China’s William Gibson.” He is mostly concerned with the alienation effect of modern technology and society. The English version of his first novel, The Waste Tide, is coming out in early 2018. Continue reading

Red Legacies in China review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Xing Fan’s review of Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution (Harvard University Asia Center, 2016), edited by Jie Li and Enhua Zhang. The review appears below, but is best read online at:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/xingfan/

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Enjoy,

Kirk A. Denton, Editor

Red Legacies in China:
Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution

Edited by Jie Li and Enhua Zhang


Reviewed by Xing Fan
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2017)


Jie Li and Enhua Zhang, eds., Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution>. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2016. 424 pp. ISBN: 9780674737181

Red Legacies in China: Cultural Afterlives of the Communist Revolution pays close attention to three interconnected questions: What constitutes red legacies in post-Mao China? How do these red legacies interact with the present? And what do we make of these interactions? The anthology includes twelve essays whose authors employ multidisciplinary, multifaceted, and multidimensional approaches, interpretations, observations, and reflections. Red Legacies in China is an important title for scholars, educators, students, and general readers who are interested in the cultural legacies of the Communist Revolution, read in the context of China’s economic, political, and ideological transformations. Continue reading

The Edge of Knowing review

MCLC and the MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Laurence Coderre’s review of The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature (University of Washington Press, 2016), by Roy Bing Chan. The review appears below, but is best read online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/coderre/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History,
and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature

By Roy Bing Chan


Reviewed by Laurence Coderre
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2017)


Roy Bing Chan. The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2016. xi, 221 pp. ISBN: 9780295998992; $50.00 (hardcover)

The historical stakes, ethical pitfalls, and representational limitations of Chinese realism as a twentieth-century literary practice constitute well-worn terrain for the field of modern Chinese literature. Indeed, one might even suggest that these concerns are foundational to the discipline as a whole. Whether in the erstwhile construction or ongoing deconstruction of Cold War-era Chinese literary historiography, realism—and its discontents—must always be reckoned with. More specifically, the preoccupation with the real remains a—if not the—dominant historiographical thread connecting the literary engagements of the May Fourth generation, the critical realism of the 1930s, and the effort to remake the world through literature and art undertaken during the Mao period. We, collectively, know this narrative by heart, and although there may be some disagreement on the particulars—what about modernism? to what extent are all-out critiques of realism anachronistic?—we generally abide by this account’s basic tenets. Continue reading

Iron Moon review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Maghiel van Crevel’s review of Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Migrant Worker Poetry (Buffalo: White Pines, 2016), edited by Qin Xiaoyu and translated by Eleanor Goodman, and the sister documentary film Iron Moon, directed by Qin Xiaoyu and Wu Feiyue. The review appears below, but is best read online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/vancrevel4/

My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Iron Moon: An Anthology of
Chinese Migrant Worker Poetry
and
Iron Moon (the film)

Edited by Qin Xiaoyu, Tr. by Eleanor Goodman / Directed by Qin Xiaoyu and Wu Feiyue


Reviewed by Maghiel van Crevel
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2017)


Qin Xiaoyu, ed, Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Migrant Worker Poetry. Translated by Eleanor Goodman. Buffalo NY: White Pine Press, 2016.

Poetry is the most ubiquitous of literary genres. It is written and recited and read and heard for families and festivals, in love and on stage, in prayers and protests, at imperial courts and in factories. In China, associations of poetry and factories, and of poetry and manual labor at large, are anything but far-fetched. One recalls the story of poetry production, which is really the only right word here, being whipped up to keep up with steel production during the Great Leap Forward (quite aside from the results in terms of quality, for poetry or for steel). And less frenetic, more sustainable instances of the linkage of poetry and labor throughout the Mao era, with factories – and drilling rigs, construction sites, and so on – generally depicted as good places. But today, poetry + factories + China conjure up a different picture. One thinks not of the proletariat but of the precariat, and not of glory but of misery. Continue reading

Crossing between Tradition and Modernity

I’m happy to announce publication of Crossing between Tradition and Modernity: Essays in Commemoration of Milena Doleželová-Velingerová (1932-2012) (Prague: Karolinum Press, 2016). After Professor Doleželová-Velingerová’s untimely death in 2012, a group of her students decided to put a volume of essays together to honor her life and career. This is the final product of those efforts. We are grateful to the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for supporting publication of the volume. The book is not yet available on Amazon, but will be, I’m told. The University of Chicago Press distributes Karolinum Press books, so it will eventually be available on its website as well. See the blurb and table of contents below for more information on the book.

On a related note, we have pooled the royalties from this volume into a fund at MCLC to establish the Milena Doleželová-Velingerová Memorial Prize, a (possibly) annual prize for the best essay published in the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture in a calendar year. The royalties from the book are not enough to sustain the fund/prize for more than a couple of years, so I am appealing to the MCLC community to consider making a donation. There’s a “DONATE MONEY” link on the main page of the MCLC site (http://u.osu.edu/mclc/). Or you can go directly to the link below (it’s a secured site):

https://www.giveto.osu.edu/makeagift/OnlineGivingDonation.aspx?Source_Code=WA&Fund=301588

I hope you will consider making a donation. We would be most grateful for your contribution. Continue reading

Gender and Subjectivities review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Yi Zheng’s review of Gender and Subjectivities in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), by Ping Zhu. The review appears below, but is best read online at:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/yizheng/

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Gender and Subjectivities in Early
Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Culture

By Ping Zhu


Reviewed by Yi Zheng
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2017)


Ping Zhu, Gender and Subjectivities in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2015. ix + 194 pp. ISBN: 978-1-137-51473-8 (Hardcover, US$90.00)

Zhu’s monograph aims at a cultural history of the “feminine at large” in early twentieth-century China. Zhu’s “early twentieth-century” encompasses “the extended period of the New Culture/May Fourth movement (including their prelude, development, and aftermath)” (3). Zhu also considers pre- and post-New Culture/May Fourth texts from Late Qing reformist writings and revolutionary literature of the 1930s. This way of charting the diverse and rich cultural and intellectual developments in the first three decades of twentieth-century China reasserts the centrality of the New Culture movement in the formation of a modern Chinese subjectivity. Zhu pinpoints the amorphous “feminine at large,” which she identifies as part of the movement’s foundation, showing how it acted as a touchstone for many derivations and alternatives (as represented by the writers discussed in the book).The changing concept and deployment of the feminine has led to fruitful developments in scholarly deliberations on twentieth-century Chinese culture and history. Not only are there foundational feminist texts that take the transformation of the Chinese woman and the feminine as the foci of their enquiry into Chinese modernity,[1] many studies of modern Chinese literature argue for the centrality of the “woman question” and women writers in twentieth-century writing, delineating a female or feminist tradition.[2] The concepts of gender and subjectivity can be productively combined to further our understanding of the formation of modern Chinese culture, as evidenced in Ping Zhu’s Gender and Subjectivities in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Culture. Continue reading

Signifying the Local review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Lauren Gorfinkel’s review of Signifying the Local: Media Productions Rendered in Local Languages in Mainland China in the New Millennium (Brill 2013), by Jin Liu. The review appears below, but is best read online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/gorfinkel/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Signifying the Local: Media Productions Rendered in
Local Languages in Mainland China in the New Millennium

By Jin Liu


Reviewed by Lauren Gorfinkel
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2017)


Jin Liu. Signifying the Local: Media Productions Rendered in Local Languages in Mainland China in the New Millennium. Leiden: Brill, 2013. 318 pp. ISSN: 1570-1344; ISBN: 978-90-04-25901-0 (hardback); ISBN: 978-90-04-25902-7 (e-book)

Signifying the Local offers a close examination of a wide range of cultural products from Mainland Chinese television, film, music, and literature that draw on local languages and dialects (方言). Drawing on theories from sociolinguistics, cultural studies, media studies, and literary analysis, the book illuminates the complexities of China’s cultural-linguistic landscape, one that is simultaneously infused with the central, official, standard, normalized Putonghua Mandarin, and a rich variety of peripheral, marginal, and local voices in both official and unofficial spaces.

The book is composed of a theoretical introduction, followed by a historical review of local languages in China (chapter 1), as well as three chapters that focus on television (chapters 2, 4 and 5), three on film (chapters 3, 7 and 8), one on Internet music (chapter 6), and one on contemporary literature (chapter 9). Continue reading

Supplement to Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem and Money

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of “Supplement to Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem and Money: Citations in Chinese,” compiled by Maghiel van Crevel and Wu Jinhua.

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

As van Crevel explains in the introduction below, this is a compilation of original Chinese versions of poems and texts referred to in his book Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem and Money (Brill 200). The supplement is published here as a pdf, which is downloadable from a link indicated in the introduction below. We hope you find the supplement useful in your scholarly and pedagogical work.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Supplement to Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind,
Mayhem and Money
: Citations in Chinese

Compiled by Maghiel van Crevel and Wu Jinhua


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January 2017)


In 2011, in his review of Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem and Money, Christopher Lupke noted:

on the level of structure or mechanics, the book could have been improved in one fundamental way: including all Chinese poems cited in their original as well as translated form … I believe there is a practical solution to this omission … [The MCLC Resource Center] would appear to be a likely venue to host a supplement volume to Van Crevel’s main text that contains all the original Chinese poems cited in his book . . . I already have indicated that this book is a must read for all interested in contemporary Chinese culture. It should be a companion to graduate seminars. The supplement would ensure that.

Shame on me for being slow to respond. I found myself in the middle of a stretch of heavy administrative work that lasted until fall 2016. This taught me a great deal, but it also ate me alive. But shame nevertheless. Even if the supplement weighs in at close to a hundred pages, and there were always a thousand other things that needed doing now during my years on the Dark Side, as I’ve heard it called, I should have done this earlier. Continue reading

Popular Media, Social Emotion and Public Discourse review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Hui Faye Xiao’s review of Popular Media, Social Emotion and Public Discourse in Contemporary China (Routledge, 2014), by Shuyu Kong. The review appears below, but is best read online at:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/xiao/

My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Popular Media, Social Emotion and
Public Discourse in Contemporary China

By Shuyu Kong


Reviewed by Hui Faye Xiao
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2017)


Shuyu Kong, Popular Media, Social Emotion and Public Discourse in Contemporary China. London and New York: Routledge, 2014. 154 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-71989-6 (Hardback: $140)

Shuyu Kong, Popular Media, Social Emotion and Public Discourse in Contemporary China. London and New York: Routledge, 2014. 154 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-71989-6 (Hardback: $140)

Continuing the scholarly investigation of China’s radical socio-cultural transformation in her Consuming Literature: Best Sellers and the Commercialization of Literary Products in Contemporary China (2004), Shuyu Kong’s latest book, Popular Media, Social Emotion and Public Discourse in Contemporary China, examines the burgeoning cultural public sphere shaped by the widespread use of new media, “including the internet, mobile communications and other social media” (3). In the past few decades, a fast-growing body of scholarship has paid attention to the escalating coverage of new media in contemporary Chinese society and speculated upon its socio-political ramifications. Jürgen Habermas’s ideas of public sphere and civil society have been frequently cited by intellectuals and scholars concerned with China’s democratization. However, Kong’s use of public sphere stretches Habermas’s definition, which tends to emphasize the participatory politics of free-willed rational bourgeois individuals. Rather, this book revolves around a new conception of popular media as a public site of cultural production and participatory consumption as well as a transmitter of social emotions and affects. This innovative approach is much needed for a better understanding of today’s Chinese society, which is experiencing yet another change in the “structure of feeling” as a result of an ongoing post-revolutionary “cultural revolution.” Continue reading

Writing the South Seas review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Alison Groppe’s review of Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature (University of Washington Press, 2015), by Brian Bernards. The review appears below, but is best read online at:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/groppe/

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Happy new year.

Kirk Denton, editor

Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in
Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature

By Brian Bernards


Reviewed by Alison M. Groppe
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2017)


Brian C. Bernards. Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature . Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. 288 pp. ISBN: 9780295995014 (Hardcover: $50.00).

Brian C. Bernards. Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature . Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. 288 pp. ISBN: 9780295995014 (Hardcover: $50.00).

As Bernards makes clear from the start—and as many readers will already know—the Chinese term Nanyang literally means the “South Seas” and conventionally refers to the region of Southeast Asia, comprised of what are now Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines. It is the book’s identification and highlighting of para-geographical features of Nanyang, as literary device and imaginary, however, that comprises one of its primary contributions. First and foremost, Bernards introduces Nanyang literary texts from multiple time periods, geographical sites, and languages, the majority of which have received scant, if any, attention in English-language scholarship. Continue reading

A Poetics of Translation review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Joshua Fogel’s review of A Poetics of Translation: Between Chinese and English Literature (Baylor UP, 2016), edited by David Jasper, Geng Youzhuang, and Wang Hai. The review appears below, but is best read online at:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/fogel2/

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, MCLC editor

A Poetics of Translation:
Between Chinese and English Literature

Edited by David Jasper, Geng Youzhuang, and Wang Hai


Reviewed by Joshua Fogel
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright December, 2016)


David Jasper, Geng Youzhuang, and Wang Hai, eds. A Poetics of Translation: Between Chinese and English Literature. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016. vii, 302 pp. ISBN: 9781481304184 ($69.95) Hardcover

David Jasper, Geng Youzhuang, and Wang Hai, eds. A Poetics of Translation: Between Chinese and English Literature. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016. vii, 302 pp. ISBN: 9781481304184 ($69.95) Hardcover

Struck by its interesting title and the fact that I had never read a sinological study published by Baylor University Press, I was intrigued to read and review this book.  It is comprised of twelve essays—seven by Western scholars and five by Chinese—that address the general topic of translation into and out of Chinese and English, covering everything from ancient Daoism to Shakespeare to Buddhism to James Legge to Ezra Pound, and including several that do not fit under the title at all. Yes, it’s all over the place. The editors make clear that they are as interested in issues of cultural transmission via translation as they are in language questions—for better or worse; this approach perhaps explains one puzzling sentence in their introduction (pp. 6-7): “None of us among the Western scholars can claim to be professional sinologists—but that may be a strength as much as a weakness.” Given the theme of the volume, I, for one, could not fathom how lack of expertise in the volume’s titular subject matter could ever be construed as “a strength,” but let us see what ensues. Continue reading