Malaysian Crossings

Dear MCLC readers,

I’d like to announce the publication of my book, Malaysian Crossings: Place and Language in the Worlding of Modern Chinese Literature. This book uses Malaysian Chinese (Mahua) literature to propose that local literary formations are capable of fostering meaningful styles of covert globality by capitalizing on their own internal diversities and connected histories. Columbia UP is offering a 20% discount on their website with the code CUP20.

The book will be launched on Nov 26, 2022. Colleagues in Singapore are very welcome to attend.

Best,

Cheow Thia Chan <chscct@nus.edu.sg>

The Routledge Companion to Yan Lianke

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Martina Codeluppi’s review of The Routledge Companion to Yan Lianke, edited by Riccardo Moratto and Howard Yuen Fung Choy. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/codeluppi/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, MCLC

The Routledge Companion to Yan Lianke

Edited by Riccardo Moratto and Howard Yuen Fung Choy


Reviewed by Martina Codeluppi

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright November, 2022)


Riccardo Moratto & Howard Yuen Fung Choy, eds., The Routledge Companion to Yan Lianke. London and New York: Routledge, 2022, ISBN: 9780367700980 (cloth).

Putting together a comprehensive volume about one of the most interesting, prolific, and internationally recognized voices in contemporary Chinese literature is not an easy task. This work, edited by Riccardo Moratto and Howard Yuen Fung Choy, makes the most of its 519 pages to retrace Yan Lianke’s 阎连科 literary production from its origins to the present day, providing a generous number of essays on the author’s poetics in theory and in practice, as well as on the challenges of its translation and reception.

The ambition of the project is self-evident, and it takes no more than one glance at the table of contents to realize it: the volume comprises 32 chapters divided into four parts, each of them addressing two specific aspects of Yan Lianke’s literary production. The table of contents is followed by a list of illustrations and then that of the contributors, which shows a considerable degree of diversity in terms of academic position and nationality, thereby ensuring a multifaceted perspective. The volume has multiple levels of introduction. The foreword by Carlos Rojas provides a retrospective view on Yan Lianke’s main works, focusing on the key elements that characterize his literary production. In particular, Rojas employs the metaphor of darkness to bring forward the relationship between Yan’s works and censorship, leading the way for the following essays, just like the flashlight Yan himself talked about on receiving the Franz Kafka Prize in 2014 (xxii). Subsequently, Yan Lianke’s preface—translated by Riccardo Moratto—introduces the collection of essays by quoting from both Western classics, such as The IliadThe MetamorphosisThe Divine Comedy and The Bible, and Chinese ones to show that literature emerged out of human experience. Yan then goes on to analyze how the relationship among writers, critics, and readers has changed across the centuries, and raises the question of where the truth and the “story field” of twenty-first century literature are to be found (xxxv). In doing so, he shows an aspiration to move beyond realism and seek the truth by transcending real-life experiences. Following Yan’s essay, the editorial preface by Riccardo Moratto and Howard Yuen Fung Choy provides some background information concerning the birth of the project and a description of it parts. Finally, two sections of acknowledgments—one by Yan and one by the editors—brings the introductory section to a close. Because of the richness of the volume and the variety of its contributions, I address each of its parts separately and provide a brief overview of each chapter. Continue reading

‘Cocoon’ review

Source: Wall Street Journal (10/21/22)
‘Cocoon’ Review: Scars of the Cultural Revolution
In a novel by the young writer Zhang Yueran, two old friends confront the legacy of China’s tumultuous past.
By Boyd Tonkin

Chinese Red Guards parade victims through the streets of Beijing, ca. 1966. PHOTO: EVERETT COLLECTION/ALAMY

On a visit to Beijing to confront the father who has quit their home, Li Jiaqi picks up an anthology of Chinese fiction he edited decades before. Jiaqi, one of the two narrators of Zhang Yueran’s novel “Cocoon,” finds a downbeat story there about a divorcee. Repelled, she promises herself she’ll never read anything else by the author. Given the tale’s title—“Love in a Fallen City”—Ms. Zhang is surely having a sly joke at her heroine’s expense. For that landmark novella was written by the great Eileen Chang (born Zhang Ying in 1920), a taboo-busting titan of modern Chinese fiction and one of Ms. Zhang’s most obvious forerunners. Not for the first or last time in this book, Jiaqi struggles to learn from the past.

The trauma and tragedy of China’s recent history obsesses the 1980s-born protagonists of “Cocoon.” Fixation is one thing, as they painfully discover; true understanding quite another. Jiaqi’s boyfriend scolds her: “You don’t know why you exist, so you hide in your father’s era. You feed on that generation’s scars. Like a vulture.” The alternating narratives of Jiaqi and her childhood friend, Cheng Gong, track these two mid-30s drifters as they disinter the shame and sorrow of their families’ past. Both feel they belong to “a species of beast that hunted secrets to survive.”

Chinese writers of Zhang Yueran’s vintage (she was born in Jinan in 1982) started to publish at a time when the dark allure of a bloodstained history vied with the spangled glamour of the present. The epic suffering inflicted by Mao’s Cultural Revolution lay open to artistic scrutiny. Official culture began to tolerate the probing of those wounds and the genre of so-called “scar literature” emerged. Continue reading

Cybernetic Poetics and New Approaches to Understanding Lit–cfp

2023 ACLA CFP: Cybernetic Poetics and New Approaches to Understanding Literature

We are organizing a seminar called “Cybernetic Poetics and New Approaches to Understanding Literature” for the 2023 American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting, which will take place in Chicago March 16-19, 2023. Please consider submitting an abstract (around 25o words) to our seminar via the ACLA online portal by October 31, 2022. Feel free to reach out to the organizers with questions!

Here is a link to the CFP on the ACLA website: https://www.acla.org/cybernetic-poetics-and-new-approaches-understanding-literature

Organizer: Yiren Zheng (Yiren.Zheng@dartmouth.edu)

Co-Organizer: Jack Chen (jwc8v@virginia.edu) Continue reading

How to Read Chinese Poetry videos

The Advanced Institute for Global Chinese Studies is pleased to launch the HOW TO READ CHINESE POETRY VIDEOS (HTRCPV), a companion program of HOW TO READ CHINESE POETRY PODCAST. As a matter of fact, its first episodes are cross-listed as special video episodes (eps. 37-39) of the Podcast. Unlike the Podcast, HTRCPV does not track Chinese poetry’s historical development but presents episodes in thematic clusters. Due to the much greater technical challenges in producing videos, we will not be able to release episodes at regular intervals. We ask for kind patience from our viewers.

The first episode of HTRCPV has been uploaded to our official YouTube channel. You may click the link to view it: https://youtu.be/bxp6Au7JKHE.

Taking advantage of ppt charts and animation, this episode shows viewers how to follow the three basic rules of tonal patterning to construct tonally regulated lines, then couplets, and finally quatrains. The episode ends by inviting viewers to write out quatrain tonal patterns on their own.

Posted by: Advanced Institute for Global Chinese Studies
Lingnan University aigcs@ln.edu.hk

Frederik Green book talk

Book talk and reading by Frederik Green on his book Bird Talk and Other Stories, a volume of translations of short stories by the Shanghai and Hong Kong-based author Xu Xu
2022 Asian Studies Symposium, Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (WCAAS)
Friday, October 21 from 4:00-5:30 pm MDT via Zoom (please register in advance using the link below)

This panel will feature a talk by Professor Frederik Green of San Francisco State University on his recent translated volume Bird Talk and other Stories by Xu Xu (Stone Bridge Press). Xu Xu, who began his career in Shanghai, China, relocated to Hong Kong in 1950 and established himself there as a writer, critic, editor, and professor. While he also wrote poetry and plays, he is best remembered for his short stories that bring together the modern, the romantic, and the exotic. In the post-1949 era, many of his works were adapted for film and television in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Professor Green will introduce the writer and the cultural and historical milieu in which he worked, read from and discuss his translations, and then field questions from the audience.

Please register in advance using the following link:

https://byu.zoom.us/j/94373090132?pwd=Y1FJUy9aMnlDb3lKRDE4OGkreFFuZz09

Posted by: Steve Riep <steven_riep@byu.edu>

A Life in Six Chapters

My film on the writer Xiao Jun, A Life in Six Chapters, has been completed, and we are ready to take some institutional orders. Below is the trailer:

You can find an introduction and blurbs at the following: https://www.eaglewindvision.com/a-life-in-six-chapters

A Life in Six Chapters presents a visual portrait of Xiao Jun (1907-1988), a left-wing Chinese writer who befriended the literary figure Lu Xun and the political giant Mao Zedong. The film spans more than 60 years from the 1920s to the 1980s, taking a tour of China’s literary scene, and introducing renowned writers like Lu Xun, Xiao Hong, Hu Feng, Ding Ling, Nie Gannu, Ai Qing, Lao She, and more. Xiao Jun’s romances and struggles are set against the backdrop of twentieth century China, including the 14-year Sino-Japanese War, the Communist rectification campaigns, post-1949 political movements, the chaotic years of the Cultural Revolution, and, finally, the early years of the country’s opening-up. A disciple of Lu Xun, Xiao Jun tried throughout his life to hold on to his mentor’s spirit of intellectual autonomy free from political influence. Although he befriended some of the CCP’s top leaders, from Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai to Chen Yun and Peng Zhen, he never joined the party. Even a campaign of criticism against him could not persuade him and he is remembered as one of a few Chinese writers who survived without bending to politics.

The “Educational Package” (USD$350) for the university library includes a DVD, a downloadable link to the film (with a watermark of the ordering university’s logo), and an unlimited campus screening license. Inquiry can be sent to:

eaglewindvision@gmail.com

Best,

S. Louisa Wei

A Conversation with Liu Wai Tong

Poetics and Everyday Resistance: A Conversation with Liu Wai Tong
October 20, 2022, 13:00-14:30

How does poetry arrive at the spot of social events in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan? How is the everyday resistance represented in women poets’ writing? And how does contemporary Chinese poetry intervene in the use of the Chinese language?

In this conversation with poet, writer, and photographer Liu Wai Tong (廖偉棠, pinyin: Liao Weitang), the Centre’s Post-doctoral Fellow Jinyan Zeng and Liu revisit poems written over the past three decades in responding to social movements, social incidents, women poets’ writing, and unofficial poetry initiatives in the Chinese-speaking world.

Webinar, Chinese dialogues with an English translation channel
網絡研討會,中文對話,英文翻譯

Registration: https://www.ace.lu.se/calendar/poetics-and-everyday-resistance-conversation-liu-wai-tong

Posted by: Jinyan Zeng <jinyan.zeng@ace.lu.se>

Chinese Crip Poetry as World Literature

Lecture – “Crossing the World to Sleep with You: Chinese Crip Poetry as World Literature,” by Hangping Xu (Oct 19)

We invite you to join us at a hybrid seminar titled “Crossing the World to Sleep with You: Chinese Crip Poetry as World Literature,” featuring Professor Hangping Xu from the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, UC Santa Barbara.

Wednesday, October 19 at 4:45pm (EST)
G08, Uris Hall, Cornell University & Online
Zoom Registration: https://cornell.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIlfumgqj8tGNykJ4ZscC3H9Jhpp3XUvXEF

Yu Xiuhua rose to her celebrity status when her poem “Crossing China to Sleep with You” went viral in 2014 on Chinese social media platforms, causing what can be called a cultural event, which director Fan Jian documents in his 2016 film Still Tomorrow. As a female poet who lives with cerebral palsy in rural China, Yu was often labeled by media representations as a “brain-paralyzed peasant poet.” Such a sensationalist labeling strategy exploits her various minority identities. Focusing on the rise of Yu as a “crip” trickster figure, the talk advances a critical account of Chinese internet poetry as transmedial performance. By discussing the politics of translation, the talk also considers Chinese crip poetry as world literature. It cross-examines various English translations of Yu’s sensationally received poem in order to demonstrate a comparative reading practice that strives for an intertextual dialogue among various translations of a given poem. Such a multiplication of translated textuality puts into motion a poem’s rhetoricity and the cultural work that it performs. This comparative approach to translation ultimately invites us to articulate a critical pedagogy of teaching translated literature, namely, cataloging multiple translations of the same text and cross-analyzing the formal and performative tension that they present enables a reading experience and practice that is more cross-culturally vital and ethical. Continue reading

NYU Shanghai position

Tenured/Tenure-track Position in Global China Studies – Traditional Chinese Literature

NYU Shanghai is currently inviting applications for a position in Traditional Chinese Literature at the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor in Global China Studies.

The Global China Studies program is a 4-year undergraduate major at NYU Shanghai that provides students with an intellectual foundation in Chinese history, language, and society. Beyond the scope of conventional area studies, this innovative interdisciplinary major allows students to cultivate critical skills and up-to-date knowledge about China. It aims at deepening their understanding of China’s interactions with the wider world as well as comprehending the trends within China, at individual, societal, state, and global levels, and in the context of socio-economic, religious, cultural, and political transformations.

Qualifications

Candidates must have completed a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies, Asian Studies, Literature, or a closely related discipline before the appointment begins (July 2023). We invite applications from candidates who research any time period prior to 1911. The position entails teaching classical Chinese and courses on traditional Chinese literature that enable students to explore genres as well as Chinese literary theories. Candidates whose research crosses disciplinary, temporal, and national boundaries are particularly welcome. Continue reading

HK Lit in Translation

IT’S COMPLICATED: HONG KONG LITERATURE IN TRANSLATION
Louise Law, Project Director, Spicy Fish Cultural Production Limited
Thursday, October 6, 2022
5:30-6:45 pm PT, HYBRID (In Person & Online)
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
https://www.usfca.edu/event/its-complicated-hong-kong-literature-translation/9792596

The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies and the Asian Studies Program welcome writer and editor Louise Law for a discussion of Hong Kong literature in translation—a discussion of a literary landscape that reflects the complicated geographic, linguistic, and political history of the city itself. What exactly are we talking about when we talk about Hong Kong Literature, especially in translation? How many works have been translated into English and how many have yet to be uncovered? This talk will give an overview of Hong Kong Literature in the past 70 years, highlighting key writers who are representative of the spirit of Hong Kong.

After a short lecture, Louise Law will engage in a conversation with award-winning literary translators Jennifer Feeley and Andrea Lingenfelter, followed by Q&A with the audience. Continue reading

Translatability/Transmediality: Chinese Poetry in/and the World

Translatability/Transmediality: Chinese Poetry in/and the World
UC Santa Barbara-Lingnan Symposium
Zoom Meeting: 852 7018 7236
Passcode: 593906\

October 7, 8-10 am PT / 11 am-1 pm ET / 11 pm-1 am GMT +8
Session 1

Yunte Huang and Hangping Xu: Welcome and opening remarks

Haun Saussy: Ways of Reading Worlds in Chinese Poetry

Shengqing Wu: Lyrical Looking and World-Visions in Late Qing Poetry on Overseas Journeys

Xiaorong Li: Globalizing Chinese Sensual-Sentimental Lyricism: Zhou Shoujuan’s Xiangyan Conghua

Chris Song: Failures of Diplomatic Intents in Poetry Translation: On Thomas Francis Wade’s Chinese Translation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life”

Lucas Klein: Assimilation or Detention: Poetic Form and the Retranslation of the Angel Island Poems Continue reading

The Happiness Factory

Dear all,

Here’s something for your reading lists as the new term starts:

Written by academic and novelist Jo McMillan, The Happiness Factory would be a refreshing addition to reading lists for courses such as Chinese women, family, gender and sexuality. And it would be of interest to scholars in any area of Chinese Studies who might want an example of how academic concerns can be explored in new, creative ways.

Mo Moore, estranged daughter of a sex-aid entrepreneur, regards her father as good as dead. And then he really does die and leaves her all his wealth. Stuck in a job in elderly care, newly single, and with nothing and no-one to keep her in England, Mo does what she’s always done when things get tough: she runs. It could have been anywhere, but a classified ad catches Mo’s eye, and it takes her to China. She lands in Pingdi, a remote mountain village that for centuries supplied dildos to the Imperial bedchamber, and whose revived sex-aid factory is in a financial fix. Soon Mo finds herself on the wrong side of the authorities and needing all the help she can get: China is a land of pointing fingers and blind eyes, of closed doors and open secrets, of rules and recklessness – a place, she discovers, where it’s not easy to be female.

The Happiness Factory is published by Bluemoose Books.

Posted by: Jo McMillan <jo@jomcmillan.com>

Qizi “On a Bus of Romanticism”

In response to the NYT article on the tragic bus crash, here’s a poem by Qizi that I have translated into English.–Martin Winter

Qizi
ON A BUS OF ROMANTICISM

Are you on a hurtling bus too?
Have you ever thought
of jumping out with me
to fall down and die
on the earth
of realism?

9/19/22
Tr. Martin Winter, September 2022

在浪漫主义的车上
起子

你也在飞驰的车上?
那你有没有想过
和我一起跳下去
摔死在现实主义的
大地上?

2022-9-19

See my blog, with pictures by Qizi (from Weibo) https://banianerguotoukeyihe.com/2022/09/20/im-romantischen-bus-%e8%b5%b7%e5%ad%90-qizi/. Thanks to Sidse Laugesen for important feedback!

Martin Winter

Wild Grass/Morning Blossoms Gathered at Dusk

Wild Grass and Morning Blossoms Gathered at Dusk by Lu Xun
Translated by Eileen J. Cheng and edited by Theodore Huters  (Harvard University Press, 2022)

Book Description

This captivating translation assembles two volumes by Lu Xun, the founder of modern Chinese literature and one of East Asia’s most important thinkers at the turn of the twentieth century. Wild Grass and Morning Blossoms Gathered at Dusk represent a pinnacle of achievement alongside Lu Xun’s famed short stories.

In Wild Grass, a collection of twenty-three experimental pieces, surreal scenes come alive through haunting language and vivid imagery. These are landscapes populated by ghosts, talking animals, and sentient plants, where a protagonist might come face-to-face with their own corpse. By depicting the common struggle of real and imagined creatures to survive in an inhospitable world, Lu Xun asks the deceptively simple question, “What does it mean to be human?”

Alongside Wild Grass is Morning Blossoms Gathered at Dusk, a memoir in eight essays capturing the literary master’s formative years and featuring a motley cast of dislocated characters—children, servants, outcasts, the dead and the dying. Giving voice to vulnerable subjects and depicting their hopes and despair as they negotiate an unforgiving existence, Morning Blossoms affirms the value of all beings and elucidates a central predicament of the human condition: feeling without a home in the world. Continue reading