JCLC 11.1

I am pleased to share “Hearing Things: Voices of the Nonhuman in Chinese Literary and Visual Culture,” the newest issue of the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture (11:1), edited by Paula Varsano. The issue is now available in print and online. Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available, here:


Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 
Volume 11 Issue 1    April 2024
Special Issue “Hearing Things: Voices of the Nonhuman in Chinese Literary and Visual Culture”

Paula Varsano, Special Issue Editor

Table of Contents

Just Listening: An Introduction
By Paula Varsano

Voices from the Other Side: Exploring Non-human Agents and Their Narrative Function in the Zhuangzi
By Romain Graziani

Simian Episteme, ca. 1200
By Jeehee Hong

Cauldron, Copper, Cash: Medieval Bronze in Motion and Flux
By Jeffrey Moser

The Crying Statue in Early Qing Drama
By Thomas Kelly

Dehumanized Voices and Traumatic Articulations in Late Nineteenth-Century Chinese Classical Tales
By Li Wei

Manuscript and the Human in Modern China
By Chloe Estep

What Noise Does a Psychotic Door Listen To? Information, Intermediality, and Guo Baochang’s Peking Opera Film Dream of the Bridal Chamber
By Ling Hon Lam

Posted by: Yuefan Wang <yuefanw2@illinois.edu>

Dong Xi in the UK

For all UK-based colleagues, if you’re free on the following dates we’d love to have you!

Dong Xi 东西 (Pen name of Tian Dailin 田代琳) award-winning author (Mao Dun Prize, Lu Xun Prize) will be touring the UK for the upcoming launch of his newest book in translation Fate Rewritten (篡改的命) (Trans: John Balcom).

London – 26th July – Living A Stolen Life – Dong Xi in Conversation with Susan Trapp
Fri 26 Jul 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM at Charing Cross Library

Edinburgh- 31st July – The Price of Tomorrow – Dong Xi in Conversation with Jenny Niven
Wed 31 Jul 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at Abden House, University of Edinburgh


Translated from Chinese and due to be published in English on 25th October 2024. It’s a Dickensian novel giving voice to China’s 300 million-strong migrant workforce, Telling a harrowing story about the conditions they live in, what drives them, and how it can go horribly wrong. Continue reading Dong Xi in the UK

Look Back in Anger

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Thomas Chen’s “Look Back in Anger: The Long Season (2023),” an essay on the TV series The Long Season. The essay appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/the-long-season/. My thanks to Prof. Chen for sharing his work with the MCLC community.

Kirk A. Denton, MCLC

Look Back in Anger:
The Long Season (2023)

By Thomas Chen

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July 2024)

Figure 1: Marketing poster for The Long Season.

First released in China in April 2023 and now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, The Long Season (漫长的季节) is the most popular and critically praised Chinese miniseries in recent memory. On Douban, China’s near-equivalent of IMDb, it has over 900,000 ratings, with an average score of 9.4 out of 10. What accounts for this stupendous acclaim?

The Long Season has an arresting storyline: complex, tightly written, and unpredictable. It is a double-plotted crime drama set in the fictional steel town of Hualin in northeastern China, deftly interweaving a mysterious hit-and-run incident in 2016—the present in which the series opens—with a case of murder by dismemberment in 1998.

Generically a whodunit, The Long Season is also a riot. The Northeast constitutes the wellspring of comedy in the Chinese cultural imagination. Some of the country’s most famous comedians hail from the region, and their skits and sketches on China Central Television’s annual New Year’s Gala have entertained generations of viewers. Directed by Xin Shuang 辛爽, a Northeasterner, the dialogue crackles with repartees, delivered impeccably in the distinctive local idiom by well-known actors Fan Wei 范伟 and Qin Hao 秦昊, both of whom themselves are from the Northeast. They play, respectively, Wang Xiang 王响, a former locomotive engineer for Hualin Steel who is now a taxi driver, and Gong Biao 龚彪, a fellow taxi driver who used to be an entry-level manager in the same factory. The third male lead is Ma Desheng 马德胜, a police captain turned amateur Latin ballroom dancer. All three give bravura performances in dual roles spanning almost two decades that anchor the temporal shifts in the narrative. Continue reading Look Back in Anger

Chinese Theories of Literary Creation

Dear colleagues and friends,

I am pleased to report that my first monograph on Chinese literary theory has come out at Duke UP. If you are interested in the book, you may place an order at the DUP or Amazon sites for the same price of $16. As Amazon needs to forward the order to DUP, it makes good sense to order directly from DUP unless you have free shipping from Amazon. Below are the DUP and Amazon links.
Thanks, Zong-qi Cai




In this monograph, Zong-qi Cai surveys the long trajectory of Chinese thinking about literary creation, from remote antiquity to the early 20th century. By uncovering the complex connections linking key critical terms, concepts, and assertions, it debunks the common perception of Chinese literary theory as vague and elusive. Instead, Cai approaches Chinese critical pronouncements as engaged in a productive dialogue with each other. Through detailed scrutiny of 184 passages, he shows how critics from different dynasties exploited the polysemy of key terms—drawn from Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist sources as well as criticism of calligraphy and painting—to arrive at ground-breaking new perspectives on literary creation. The book concludes with a brief comparative look at Chinese and Western literary theory aimed at being mutually illuminating for both traditions. Intended for general readers as well as specialists, this monograph will be followed in the next few years by three similar studies on theories of literature, aesthetics, and interpretation.

Posted by: Prism Editorial Office <prism@ln.edu.hk>

Prism 20.2

Publication News | Prism 20:2
Edited by Prof Zhiyi Yang and Prof David Der-wei Wang

We are pleased to announce the publication of “Classicism in Digital Times: Cultural Remembrance as Reimagination in the Sinophone Cyberspace,” a special issue of Prism (20:2), edited by David Der-wei Wang and Zhiyi Yang.

Contributors to this special issue explore “Chineseness” in the digital age, presenting the many facets of the multicentered, multidimensional, and multifunctional phenomenon of “Sinophone classicism.” The authors posit that digital technology leads to intense disruption and fragmentation of geopolitical and ethno-cultural communities by building kinetic connections among atomized individuals who act as agents of cultural remembrance and imagination. The ramifications of this virtual cultural-linguistic nationalism remain to be observed in long-term academic studies, the authors argue, beginning with this special issue.

Contributors to this issue include Fangdai Chen, Yedong Sh-Chen, Tarryn Li-Min Chun, Rossella Ferrari, Chieh-Ting Hsieh, Liang Luo, Michael O’Krent, Xiaofei Tian, Laura Vermeeren, David Der-Wei Wang, Zhiyi Yang, and Michelle Yeh.

Browse the table of contents at https://read.dukeupress.edu/prism/issue/20/2. Buy this issue at https://dukeupress.edu/classicism-in-digital-times.

Prism Editorial Office <prism@ln.edu.hk>

The Conformed Body book launch

Book Launch: The Conformed Body: Contemporary Art in China

The book launch for Professor Jiang Jiehong’s The Conformed Body: Contemporary Art in China, published by Brill, will include a presentation by Professor Jiang Jiehong (Birmingham City University), remarks by Professor Chris Berry (King’s College London) and Dr Wenny Teo (The Courtauld Institute of Art), and a panel conversation moderated by Dr Panpan Yang (SOAS University of London).

Sample books will also be available.

The event is part of SOAS East Asian Research Seminar (EARS). It is free and open to all. But booking is essential. The event is in-person only.

Monday, July 8, 5 – 6:40pm London Time

The event will take place at Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre (BGLT) within the SOAS Brunei Gallery.
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ

About the new book
Through the perspective of the ‘conformed body’, this groundbreaking book examines the role in art of everyday conformist practices in the People’s Republic of China, such as mass assemblies and bodily trainings and exercises, as well as their impact on people’s perceptions and collective memories. It identifies related artworks, reassesses artistic interpretations with critical reflections, and explores a key origin of artistic productions in post-Mao China. Featuring 200 colour illustrations, the book discusses works by more than 30 internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artists, including Ai Weiwei, Geng Jianyi, Song Dong, Xu Bing, Zhang Peili and Zhang Xiaogang.

Register/More info

We look forward to seeing you.

Panpan Yang <py6@soas.ac.uk>

The Mighty Hero Gan Fengchi

The Chinese Film Classics Project is delighted to announce the publication of Frank S. Zhou’s translation of the film The Mighty Hero Gan Fengchi 大俠甘鳳池 (Dumas Young 楊小仲, dir., 1928):


My thanks to Frank for sharing his translation with the Chinese Film Classics Project, and to Liu Yuqing for creating the subtitles.

  • Christopher Rea


The Mighty Hero Gan Fengchi 大俠甘鳳池 (1928) is a partially-extant silent film released in China by the Great Wall Film Company during a peak in popularity of the wuxia (martial-chivalry) genre. The surviving 23 minutes of the film are filled with fight scenes, eye-catching sets, and special effects—notably multiple disappearances into thin air and an airborne clash between three “lightsabers” that shoot out of the warriors’ palms. As we pick up the story, Gan Fengchi and his two child disciples are battling against officialdom, represented by the fighters Cloud Ace and Cloud Eternity. What accounts for the children’s defiance of authority? Have they been poisoned and forgotten themselves? Or have the officials they fight betrayed the people? As the two sides spar over the Circuit Intendant’s seal of office and the children right other wrongs, a challenge arrives to settle a decade-old grudge on Crouching Tiger Mountain…

The historical Gan Fengchi is said to have been from Nanjing and lived during the reigns of the Qing emperors Kangxi and Yongzheng. Gan became a figure of literature and folklore, including a Qing-era biography by Wang Youliang 王友亮 (A Brief Biography of Gan Fengchi 甘鳳池小傳), a two-part Republican-era novel entitled The Blood-Soaked Mighty Hero Gan Fengchi 血滴子大俠甘鳳池, and a later novel by Liang Yusheng 梁羽生. A Cantonese-language sound film of the same title directed by Lin Cang 林蒼, featuring a Ming restoration plot, was released in Hong Kong in 1939. Continue reading The Mighty Hero Gan Fengchi

Suipian no. 1

碎篇 // Suipian // Fragments
Tabitha Speelman

Welcome to the 1st edition of Suipian, my new personal newsletter in which I share thoughts and resources that help me make sense of Chinese society and its relationship to the rest of the world.

You’re receiving this because you have been subscribed to Changpian, my previous newsletter sharing Chinese nonfiction writing. Suipian, too, will share selected writing from and on China that I found worth my time, but recommendations will include more genres, including academic and policy research, and will now be in both Chinese and English (and beyond). 碎篇 is of course derived from 碎片 or ‘fragments’ but another character I kept thinking of was the 随 of 随笔, and there will be some of that too, mainly in the form of reporting notes.

To me, the shift from Changpian to Suipian reflects change in my own life (with chronic illness leading to more fragmented reading) and real shifts in the China media landscape. The small boom in nonfiction writing at Chinese domestic media has passed, and my Wechat timeline is no longer the treasure trove it was in the late 2010s. At the same time, with more Chinese writers and journalists working outside China, the amount of high-quality content on Chinese society produced in other parts of the world and in other languages is growing every day.

Also, geopolitics happened. Where in my early years as a reporter in China, I focused on telling stories that aimed to shed some light on ‘China beyond the headlines,’ that’s more difficult now that ‘China’ seems to be in all the headlines. I still try to highlight individual perspectives and diversity, but the new context of geopolitical and narrative shifts I can hardly keep up with somehow makes it very different. Continue reading Suipian no. 1

‘To Govern the Globe’ review

The famous Southeast Asia historian Alfred McCoy has published an important new book, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change on world history, and where it is heading with China as an aspiring new world empire. I’ve written a review of it:

Cycles of History: Review Essay on Alfred McCoy’s To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change.” By Magnus Fiskesjö. International Institute for Asian Studies newsletter (June 2024).


Magnus Fiskesjö, magnus.fiskesjo@cornell.edu

On Tsui Hark’s ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (5/5/2024)
What Happens to the Index in Animation? The Case of The Taking of Tiger Mountain
By Cassandra Xin Guan

In the opening sequence of The Taking of Tiger Mountain (Zhiqu Weihushan 智取威虎山  2014), an overseas Chinese student, “Jimmy,” walks into a karaoke parlor in Manhattan’s Chinatown trailing a suitcase. He mingles with a noisy group of young Asians, until the incongruous sound of Peking opera and the vision of a fur-clad actor gesturing before a painted snowy landscape interrupts the karaoke program. It is reconnaissance officer Comrade Yang Zirong astride an invisible horse in the 1970 film adaptation of the revolutionary model opera Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy[1]The room erupts into hilarity at the embarrassment of the singer, taken aback by this prank. Jimmy alone is entranced by the apparition on the flatscreen TV. Someone asks, “It’s your hometown, isn’t it?” Next, we see the young man sitting in a yellow cab en route to the airport. While the driver curses Yuletide traffic, Jimmy begins to watch a YouTube video of the model opera on his phone. The operatic soundtrack swells while the camera zooms intently into his face. Snow is falling in America and in the deciduous forests of Northeast China. Over aerial vistas of the hyperborean landscape, the title of the film appears followed by the name of the director and source material: The Taking of Tiger Mountain, a film by Tsui Hark 徐克, adapted from the 1955 novel Tracks in the Snowy Forest (Linhai xueyuan 林海雪原) by Qu Bo 曲波. Continue reading On Tsui Hark’s ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’

Subtitled version of ‘The White-Haired Girl’

The Chinese Film Classics Project is delighted to announce the publication of a subtitled version of the film The White-Haired Girl 白毛女 (Wang Bin 王濱 and Shui Hua 水華, dirs., 1950), translated by Pete Nestor and Thomas Moran:


My thanks to Pete Nestor and Thomas Moran and the MCLC Resource Center for granting the Chinese Film Classsics Project permission to use their translation, and to Tamar Hanstke for doing the subtitling.


The White-Haired Girl 白毛女 (1950) is a seminal work of New China cinema. A musical film adapted from a stage production, which in turn was claimed to have been adapted from a popular folk legend, The White-Haired Girl is an ideologically-freighted story of liberation and rejuvenation. A fresh young country girl is subjected to inhuman suffering by a despicable landlord, before being rescued when the communist Eighth-Route Army liberates her village and sees justice done. Xi’er’s new lease on life became symbolic of the rebirth of China, whose history the film divided into two distinct periods with the slogan: “The old society forced humans to become ghosts / The new society turns ghosts into humans.” Continue reading Subtitled version of ‘The White-Haired Girl’

‘Home’ series from Paper Republic

“Home”, new Paper Republic series of shorts in English translation

A refuge, a recollection, a promised land, a prison; the arms of family, or four concrete walls in the sky… Home means something different to each of us, but it means something to all of us.

Paper Republic’s newest Read Paper Republic series of online short story and poem translations, themed around HOME, will commence publication on June 6, 2024. Read the pieces, completely free, online at https://paper-republic.org/pubs/read/series/home/.

The tenth series since Read Paper Republic was first published in 2015, HOME includes four short stories and two poems, each adopting a different point of view on the all-important question of belonging. At a time when Chinese society is wrestling with generational gaps, real-estate crises, and the outfall of pandemic, these meditations on love and security (or lack thereof) deliver a powerful testament to the variety of human experience.

We’re giving away brand-new novels translated from Chinese completely free to people who help us grow our mailing lists with the most names. What you have to do to win a novel (or collection of short stories or poetry):

  • Send this email to any friends you think would be interested.
  • Ask if they will agree to have their names added to our mailing list. (They’ll get a couple of emails and a couple of free newsletters from Paper Republic per year, no more.)
  • Send us their names and emails by 31 July 2024.
  • Wait to hear from us! We’ll ask you for your mailing address if you’re one of the lucky winners

Continue reading ‘Home’ series from Paper Republic

Chinese Literature and Thought Today 55.1-2

Dear colleagues,

I’m pleased to announce that Chinese Literature and Thought Today (CLTT) v55, n1-2 is now online at https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/mcsp21/current.

Routledge has stopped offering a free access period for the entire issue. If your institution subscribes to CLTT, you should be able to read and download the full contents. Additionally, the following two pieces in this double issue will be available for free access until the end of August 2024.

Crafting an Imaginary World of Her Own: A Conversation with Hong Kong Author Wong Yi” by Jennifer Feeley

 “Affective Chinese Socialist Realism: A Reading of Zhao Shuli’s Sanliwan Village” by Daniela Licandro


Ping Zhu <pingzhu@ucsd.edu>

positions: asia critique 32.2

New Issue of positions: asia critique (32:2) Available Now Online

We are pleased to announce the publication of positions: asia critique 32:2!

The contributors are Inhye Han, Katherine G. T. Whatley, Junnan Chen, Jennifer Dorothy Lee, Pun Ngai, Qiaoyun Zhang, Guanli Zhang, Wen Huang, Yun Tang, Chang-Min Yu, and Yuqing Yang.

Browse the table of contents and read the Editor’s Introduction at https://read.dukeupress.edu/positions/issue/32/2. The issue is available for purchase at https://www.dukeupress.edu/positions.

Posted by: Dale Booth <positionsjournal@alc.rutgers.edu>

The Translational Turn and the Dual Pressures on Chinese Literary Studies

List members may be interested in my review essay, “The Translational Turn and the Dual Pressures on Chinese Literary Studies,” recently published by the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and available via open access.

Here’s the abstract:

Whereas sinology, or the study of Chinese literature in English, has often been identifiable by a Chinese culturism, or belief in Chinese civilization as a coherent whole united by its writing system, this review article looks at five books that could be described as participating in a “translational turn” in Chinese literary studies. Yet even as they make powerful arguments against the fundamental unity and cohesiveness of a diachronic Chinese cultural-political identity in their translingual and translational approaches to scholarship, the books—Carla Nappi’s Translating Early Modern China (2021), Haun Saussy’s The Making of Barbarians (2022), Tze-Yin Teo’s If Babel Had A Form (2022), Yunte Huang’s Chinese Whispers (2022), and Nan Z. Da’s Intransitive Encounter (2018)—risk taking for granted the longevity of China’s participation in globalization and its economic integration with the United States. In light of current changes to the relationship between China, the US, and the world order, this review article reads these books while attempting to think through the gains and pitfalls of the translational turn in Chinese literary studies.

And here’s the first paragraph: Continue reading The Translational Turn and the Dual Pressures on Chinese Literary Studies