Literature in the Age of the Anthropocene

Gwennaël Gaffric, La Littérature à l’ère de l’Anthropocène. Une étude écocritique autour des œuvres de l’écrivain taïwanais Wu Ming-yi [Literature at the Age of Anthropocene: An Ecocritical Reading of Wu Ming-yi’s Works]
Foreword by Stéphane Corcuff
Asiathèque, Collection « Études formosanes »

Editor’s presentation:

Taking an ecocritical approach, Gwennaël Gaffric discusses in this book the literary treatment of ecological issues in Taiwan and beyond. He focuses his study on the works by Wu Ming-yi, a major figure in Taiwanese literary, artistic and militant scenes, but he seeks to expand his presentation by putting in perspective and dialogue texts from other contemporary Taiwanese authors, as well as reflections proposed by thinkers from several disciplines and all geographical horizons. He achieves an impressive synthesis, where ecology becomes an ontology of the relationship between humans and non-humans and an epistemological path to think the Anthropocene. Continue reading

Life and death of Chinese poetry’s mystical martyr

Source: Sup China (4/17/19)
The Life And Death Of Chinese Poetry’s Mystical Martyr

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating with a series of articles that looks at Chinese poetry, both past and present. We began earlier this week with China’s greatest poet, Li Bai. Today, we look at a modern poet, Hai Zi, who produced mystic, unforgettable works in his short life.

On the evening of March 24, 1989, Zha Haisheng 查海生 — a poet and teacher at Beijing’s China University of Political Science and Law — wrote a bizarre note complaining that two of his friends were attacking him by inducing auditory hallucinations in his ears. Zha claimed that the men were trying to turn him schizophrenic, or pushing him to kill himself. Over the next day and a half, Zha wrote other similar notes, saying that the two men should be held accountable if he were to die or commit suicide. Continue reading

Censorship in Chinese Studies

This is an addendum to yesterday’s posting of the table of contents of volume 40 of CLEAR.–Kirk Denton

Three new essays on the Chinese script and a new twist to the old problem of censorship in Chinese studies
By Jacob Edmond

I’m delighted to announce that volume 40 of Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) has just been released and that it includes a cluster of essays that Lorraine Wong and I have co-edited. In our brief preface to the cluster, we not only introduce three ground-breaking  essays by exciting young scholars; we also explain how they came to be published in CLEAR. We hope both the essays and our cautionary tale about censorship will generate new conversations in Chinese studies and, more broadly, about the increasing pervasiveness of government censorship around the world. To this end, I reproduce our preface and the abstracts of the three essays below.

Flipping the script: An introduction to three essays and to the problem of censorship in Chinese studies

The essays by Guangchen ChenNicholas Wong, and Jin Liu gathered together in this issue of CLEAR are linked by a shared set of scholarly concerns and, less happily, by a history of thwarted publication and censorship. These three essays illustrate the powerful and contested role played by the Chinese script in imagining and questioning notions of Chineseness and of the Chinese state from the early twentieth century to the present day: from Lu Xun’s transcriptions of ancient steles through Ng Kim Chew’s repurposing of oracle bone script to Li Xiaoguai’s online publication of his playful and satirical invented characters. As the three essays demonstrate, these writers deploy the qualities of the Chinese script to question the norms of language, simplistic notions of Chineseness, and monolithic conceptions of China. Their publication in this issue of CLEAR brings up important areas of concern for those writing about Chinese literature and culture today. Continue reading

CLEAR vol. 40

Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, vol. 40


Eugene EOYANG, “CLEAR: A 40-Year Perspective” 1


Thomas MAZANEC, “Righting, Riting, and Rewriting the Book of Odes (Shijing): On ‘Filling out the Missing Odes’ by Shu Xi” 5

YUAN Ye, “Faithful Women in Jin Ping Mei: Literary Borrowing, Adaptation, and Reinterpretation” 33

Maria Franca SIBAU, “Filiality, Cannibalism, Sanctity: Fleshing Out Gegu in a Late Ming Tale of a Filial Girl” 51

CHEN Lei, “Authorship and Transmission in Kong Shangren’s Self-Commentary of the Peach Blossom Fan” 73

Lorenzo ANDOLFATTO, “Futures Enmired in History: Chun Fan’s Weilai shijie (1907), Biheguan Zhuren’s Xin jiyuan (1908) and the Limits of Looking Backward” 107

Nicholas Morrow WILLIAMS, “Chinese Poetry and Its Contexts” 125 Continue reading

Golden age of Chinese science fiction

Source: SCMP (3/31/19)
Inside China: Is this the golden age of Chinese science fiction?

  • A new generation of Chinese science fiction authors talk about their inspirations and insights.
  • Hear from Xia Jia, Chen Quifan, Baoshu, and Regina Kanyu Wang.

By Jarrod Watt and Rachel Cheung

A visual provided by Melon HK a Hong Kong-based science fiction conference. Photo: Handout.

A visual provided by Melon HK a Hong Kong-based science fiction conference. Photo: Handout.

[To listen to the podcast:]

Cinema audiences in the 1980s watched a futuristic vision of the year 2019 that included killer robots, flying cars — and an almost entirely American cast. Fast forward to today, and one of the biggest global blockbusters is The Wandering Earth, which has an almost entirely Chinese cast and is based on a novella by China’s most famous science fiction writer, Liu Cixin. Continue reading

2nd Annual Flushing Poetry Festival


The 2nd Annual Flushing Poetry Festival (2019法拉盛詩歌節) will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at the Queens Public Library in Flushing, NY, from 11 am – 4 pm.  The event celebrates contemporary Chinese poets living overseas, writing in Chinese, and it encourages cross-cultural conversation and translation of poetry from diaspora poets. Winning poetry from the juried competition will be published in a subsequent online publication in Chinese Poetry New York (纽约诗刊).  The event is free and open to the public, and will be in Chinese and English.

The day’s agenda includes an award’s ceremony, a poetry reading, a small poetry book stall and an afternoon panel discussion.

The poetry reading will include a selection of poems in Chinese and English read by invited guests.

The panel discussion includes the following poets and translators: WANG Yu [王渝], YAN Li [嚴力], ZHANG Er [張耳], XIE Jiong [謝炯, Joan Xie], and Denis Mair [梅丹理], and will be moderated by Connie Rosemont.  Panelists will explore challenges translators face – both philosophical and practical, and they will talk about how they navigate the profound difference between the Chinese and English languages, including issues of syntax, sound, meaning, and the written word itself, and the role of translation in promoting cross-literary culture. Continue reading

In conversation with Chan Koonchung

Source: LARB China Channel (4/5/19)
The Golden Age: In conversation with speculative novelist Chan Koonchung
By Alec Ash

Chan Koonchung is the Shanghai-born, Hong Kong-raised author of The Fat Years, a near-future soft science fiction novel about a China closely resembling today’s. He has been living in Beijing since 2000. In the book, China has entered a “Golden Age of Ascendancy” after a second economic crisis has crippled the West. But no one within China can remember the crackdown that preceded it, and everyone is oddly euphoric. The novel alludes to contemporary China very closely, and is banned in the mainland. I sat down with Chan Koonchung in a Beijing Starbucks to see what he really thinks about today’s China. – Alec Ash

You came up with the idea for your novel in 2008. Why set it five years later?

In 2008, I realized something significant had happened to China’s perspective of itself and the world’s perception of China. I thought I had a story. I call it “the new normal.” The title of The Fat Years in Chinese is Sheng Shi (盛世), which means the golden years of ascendency and prosperity. This phrase was not used to describe China for at least a century and a half. Now, suddenly everyone is using sheng shi to describe China. Continue reading

Interview with Wilt Idema


Insects in Chinese Literature: A Study and Anthology by Wilt L. Idema was just published and launched at the 2019 AAS conference in Denver two weeks ago. There was much interest in this unusual book, and so we have conducted the following interview with Professor Idema.

Cambria Press: In the introduction to your book, you mention that that insects, especially “anthropomorphized insects that talk to each other,” are quite rare in animal tales. What sparked your interest in this rare subset of animal tales?
Wilt Idema: I have always been interested in animal tales, animal fables, and beast epics, likely because Van den vos Reynaerde (Reynard the fox) is one of the most famous and enjoyable works of Dutch medieval literature. Perhaps because I was frustrated by the near-absence of texts involving talking animals in Chinese literature, I have been keeping track of those tales I did encounter. Once I thought I might have enough for a book on the topic, I only intensified my search. When looking for insect tales, I was quite surprised to find a considerable number of tales about the weddings of insects, the funerals of insects, their battles and wars, their disputes and court cases in Chinese popular literature, and once I had found those materials I wanted to compare the depiction of insects in popular tales to those in classical poetry and in vernacular prose. The result in my Insects in Chinese Literature. Continue reading

China’s Chaplin

Dear list members,

Just in time for April Fool’s Day: a new translation of comic fiction and drama from modern Shanghai. Happy spring,

Christopher Rea <>

China’s Chaplin: Comic Stories and Farces by Xu Zhuodai
Translated and with an introduction by Christopher Rea
Ithaca, NY: Cornell East Asia Series, 2019
ISBN: 9781939161048
300 pages

Hoaxes! Jokes! Farces and fun! China’s Chaplin introduces the imagination of Xu Zhuodai (1880–1958), a comic dynamo who made Shanghai laugh through the tumultuous decades of the pre-Mao era. Xu was a popular and prolific literary humorist who styled himself variously as Master of the Broken Chamberpot Studio, Dr. Split-Crotch Pants, Dr. Hairy Li, and Old Man Soy Sauce. He was also an entrepreneur who founded gymnastics academies, theater troupes, film companies, magazines, and a home condiments business. Continue reading

The Reincarnated Giant

Dear List Members,

This is a rather belated announcement of the publication of The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First Century Chinese Science Fiction (co-edited by Mingwei Song and Theodore Huters, Columbia University Press, 2018). As editors, we hope the anthology will be useful to literary scholars for classroom teaching and academic research.

The TOC of the anthology can be found on this webpage:

The anthology features some of the most important science fiction stories from the contemporary authors, including Liu Cixin, Han Song, Chen Qiufan, Bao Shu, Xia Jia, as well as excerpts from the experimental novels based on variations of the theme, style, rhetoric, language of science fiction, by authors such as Taiwan’s Lo Yichun and Hong Kong’s Dung Kai-cheung. Continue reading

Chen Qiufan goes to Burning Man

Source: Logic 7 (2019)
The Chinese Burner
by Chen Qiufan
A Chinese science fiction writer goes to Burning Man.
Translated by Julian Gewirtz and Wenbin Gao.

Burning Man. Photo by Chen Qiufan.

This piece appears in Logic’s upcoming seventh issue, “China.” To pre-order the issue, head on over to our store. To receive “China” along with future issues, subscribe.

Every year at the end of August, the Nevada desert, with its dense, corrosive, dusty air, welcomes tens of thousands of pilgrims who call themselves “burners.” They come in house cars, peculiar floats, or private jets to this “Black Rock City,” which only exists for nine days. They build hundreds of art installations, attend sexy dance parties with roaring music all night long, and take part in more than one thousand activities—from yoga and meditation to S&M and orgies to artificial intelligence (AI) exhibitions. There is no commerce here. All you can get with money is ice and coffee. Everything else must be gotten for free or shared voluntarily. A hug or a song can be payment for bread and alcohol. Continue reading

Deep Breaths

Dear MCLC Members,

I’m delighted to announce the publication of the Chinese–English bilingual collection of  my poems Deep Breaths (430 pp) by the Showwe Information Co. in Taiwan. If you want to order the book for your school library, please visit this website: If you want to purchase the book yourself, please contact me at Thanks for your kind support.

Jiayan Mi, The College of New Jersey

120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth

Source: China Daily (3/7/19)
Influential writer’s work lives long in memory
By Chen Nan

People visit the Lao She Memorial Hall in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Range of activities mark 120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth.

“I am a nobody in literary and art circles. For decades, I have been conscientiously writing at my table. I am proud of my diligence. … I hope that the day I am buried, someone will put up an engraved monument, saying, ‘The nobody of literary and art circles, who has fulfilled his duty, sleeps here.'”

These words, from the writer Lao She, hang on a gray wall outside the Lao She Memorial Hall, a tranquil courtyard in Beijing. Continue reading

Fantasy novel about antiques adapted for online series

Source: China Daily (3/14/19)
Fantasy novel about antiques becomes hit online series

A poster from the online series The Golden Eyes. [Photo provided to China Daily]

When veteran producer Bai Yicong occasionally “clicked” on a fantasy novel online in 2010, he could scarcely have thought that it would one day become one of his biggest-budget productions.

The work of fiction, titled Huangjin Yan, or The Golden Eyes, follows the adventures of a young pawnshop employee, who possesses the power to be able to see the past and future of every object he sees after his eyes are injured by a group of robbers.

Thus the protagonist becomes a legend in the antique world and an easy winner in gambling on stones, the practice of buying a raw rock and then cutting it open, with the hope of it holding some gems.

The story, penned by online writer Tang Yong, better known by his pseudonym Dayan, has accumulated more than 30 million views since its debut on China’s largest internet literature site Qidian in 2010.

“I was deeply attracted by the novel. It has a lot of riveting depictions about underground adventures, enriching my knowledge about antiques,” says Bai, sitting in his office located in eastern Beijing. Continue reading

Insects in Chinese Literature


Cambria Press is pleased to announce the publication of Insects in Chinese Literature: A Study and Anthology by Wilt L. Idema.

This gist of Professor Idema’s newest book is well captured by Professor Judith T. Zeitlin (University of Chicago) who notes, “That prodigiously productive scholar and translator of Chinese literature is at it again. This time Wilt Idema takes us into the teeming world of creepy, crawling things—insects. Entertaining and erudite, and covering a mind-boggling range of genres, serious and parodic, the extraordinary range of Chinese writing on this subject—from culturally venerated insects like silkworms, cicadas, and crickets to universal scourges like fleas, mosquitos, and lice—over millennia is here made available for the first time.” Continue reading