Calling for a New Renaissance

NEW PUBLICATION: Calling for a New Renaissance by Gao Xingjian (Cambria Press)
Edited by Mabel Lee; translated by Mabel Lee and Yan Qian
9781621966548 •  $114.99  • 312pp. (includes 50 images, of which 45 are paintings selected by Gao Xingjian from his private collection)

Gao Xingjian won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000 for a body of literary works originally written and published in Chinese and later translated and published in English, French, and Swedish. Gao’s plays have been performed in even more languages on the stages of Asia, Europe, United States, Africa, and Australia. He is also recognized as a painter of international significance; in 2015 his six-panel work The Awakening of the Consciousness became the sole permanent display of a designated room in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. His extraordinary creative achievements draw on his innate talents but also on his profound knowledge and understanding of the creative arts of China and the West.

In Calling for a New Renaissance, Gao presents his primary concerns of the past decade or so. He indicts the lingering impact of ideology on contemporary literature and art, and for this reason calls for “a new Renaissance,” a result of which would be “boundary-crossing creations” such as the three cine-poems that he produced and describes in detail in this book. Of importance in this book, and not documented elsewhere, Gao offers his insights on how, despite receiving his education in the People’s Republic of China, he succeeded in educating himself in both Chinese and world literatures because of his love of reading and his disciplined approach to reading. Calling for a New Renaissance is a valuable resource for academic researchers, students, and general readers interested in Gao Xingjian, transcultural studies, transdisciplinary studies, and transmedia studies. Continue reading

Cantonese Popular Periodicals website

Dear all,

I would like to bring your attention to a website that we have just launched:

Bilingual Database and Annotated Bibliography of Cantonese Popular Periodicals of the Early Twentieth Century (Phase I):

The website is supported by Lord Wilson Heritage Trust. It covers a range of Cantonese periodicals from various databases, libraries and private collections in Hong Kong, Macau and the United Kingdom.

Kind regards,

Nga Li Lam <>

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 <>

Chinese Independent Cinema Observer no. 4

We are excited to announce that the fourth issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, has been published.

The fourth issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, ‘Anthropology, Contemporary Art, and Chinese Independent Documentaries’, seeks to explore the vibrant interchanges and interactions between cinema, art, and ethnography. As noted by the two executive editors, J.P Sniadecki and Li Xiaofeng, who are both filmmakers and scholars, independent Chinese cinema has not merely been a passive recipient of influences from anthropology and art, but has powerfully invigorated and challenged the staid orthodoxy of ethnography and the commercial excess of contemporary art.

This issue consists of mainly the contributions by seventeen filmmakers who either reflect on, or are in conversation with each other about, their unique filmmaking processes or ideas, and offers first-hand accounts from indie filmmakers within and beyond China.

To launch this issue, a roundtable discussion titled ‘Documentary, Ethnography and Contemporary Art’, involving four members of the journal editorial team—Flora Lichaa, J.P. Sniadecki, Wang Wo, and Sabrina Q. Yu—will take place at the Made in China festival in Rennes, France, on 1 October 2022.

The issue, and its individual articles, can be downloaded here:

Luke Robinson

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

Secondhand China

Dear all,

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book Secondhand China: Spain, the East, and the Politics of Translation (Northwestern University Press, FlashPoints series). Thanks to the support of the eScholarship program, it is also available in open access format here. And you can watch a short book trailer here.

Carles Prado-Fonts <> <>

About the book:

This transcultural study of cultural production brings to light the ways Spanish literature imagined China by relying on English- and French-language sources. Carles Prado-Fonts examines how the simultaneous dependence on and obscuring of translation in these cross-cultural representations created the illusion of a homogeneous West. He argues that Orientalism became an instrument of hegemony not only between “the West and the rest” but also within the West itself, where Spanish writers used representations of China to connect themselves to Europe, hone a national voice, or forward ideas of political and cultural modernity.

Uncovering an eclectic and surprising archive, Prado-Fonts draws on diverse cultural artifacts from popular literature, journalism, and early cinema to offer a rich account of how China was seen across the West between 1880 and 1930. Enrique Gaspar, Luis de Oteyza, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and lesser-known authors writing in Spanish and Catalan put themselves in dialogue with Leo Tolstoy, John Dewey, W. Somerset Maugham, Bertrand Russell, Pearl Buck, and André Malraux, as well as stereotypical figures from popular culture like Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan. Throughout, Prado-Fonts exposes translation as a technology of cultural hegemony and China as an appealing object for representation. A timely contribution to our understanding of how we create and consume knowledge about the world, Secondhand China is essential reading for scholars and students of Orientalism, postcolonial studies, translation studies, comparative literature, and cultural studies. Continue reading

Sensing China

We are delighted to announce the publication of Sensing China: Modern Transformations of Sensory Culture (Routledge, 2023), co-edited by Shengqing Wu and Xuelei Huang. This volume brings together 12 chapters by literary scholars and historians, and critically interrogates the deeply rooted meanings that the senses have coded in Chinese culture and society. We also would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange and our colleagues who supported this journey.

Shengqing Wu and Xuelei Huang


  1. Introduction

Part I  Understanding the Senses in Traditional Culture

  1. Aural and Visual Hierarchies in Texts from Early China: Beyond Epistemology of the Senses (Jane Geaney)
  2. The Culture of Smells: From Huchou to Tianxiang, Taboo and Sublimation (Paolo Santangelo) Continue reading

Contemporary Chinese Queer Performance

Dear all,

I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book Contemporary Chinese Queer Performance. Please recommend the book to your university libraries if this is of interest. Thank you!

All the best,

Hongwei Bao

About the book:

In this ground-breaking study, Hongwei Bao analyses queer theatre and performance in contemporary China. This book documents various forms of queer performance – including music, film, theatre, and political activism – in the first two decades of the twenty first century. In doing so, Bao argues for the importance of performance for queer identity and community formation. This trailblazing work uses queer performance as an analytical lens to challenge heteronormative modes of social relations and hegemonic narratives of historiography. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of theatre and performance studies, gender and sexuality studies and Asian studies. Continue reading

Telos special issue on China and the West

I would like to draw your attention to the newly released issue of Telos, which focuses on China and the West: Methodologies for Comparison, featuring a number of scholars of Chinese literature.

You can see the full issue here, though you will need to be logged in to your university library to access the articles:

David Pan
Editor, Telos (

#WomeninTranslation month

#WomeninTranslation month: Paper Republic publishes a Month of Women Poets

Paper Republic is proud to present A Month of Chinese Women Poets, to mark #WomeninTranslation Month. From Alice Xiang, the series editor: “Born in the ’50s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, the poets in this series write from vantage points that span the PRC’s decades of vertiginous change. Yet it goes without saying that the series is not ‘representative’ in even the most modest sense of the word. It offers a few glimpses into contemporary Chinese poetry, several framings of the experience of womanhood, mere slivers of the polyphonic, transnational Sinophone literary universe. The series is an invitation……”

Dip in and enjoy!

Nicky Harman <>

Made in China 7.1

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Made in China Journal. You can download it for free at this link:

Below you can find the editorial:

Out of Time: Realms of Chinese Nostalgia


Nostalgia is like a king with his kingdom lost
What it searches for is an eternal bewilderment.

—Bei Dao, 2008 (translation by Tao Naikan and Simon Patton)

Cultural theorist Svetlana Boym famously distinguished two types of nostalgia: a restorative one that ‘manifests itself in total reconstructions of monuments of the past’; and a reflective one that ‘lingers on ruins, the patina of time and history, in the dreams of another place and another time.’ But nostalgia is not necessarily only backward-looking. Rather, it can represent a feeling of longing for a future yet to be lost or even realised. For the historian Roxanne Panchasi, nostalgia may originate in the ways in which people anticipate and plan their lives around an expected future. This anticipated future, Panchasi intimates, ‘can tell us a great deal about the cultural preoccupations and political perspectives of the present doing the anticipating’. In these and other ways, nostalgia can actualise in cultural expression and performance within communities of nostalgia and as immersive environments that shine a light on past trauma to move closer to reconciliation. Contributors to this issue explore the workings of nostalgia in people’s memories and spaces in China and beyond from a variety of perspectives to uncover how and why admirers of the Maoist and post-socialist eras express their longings for pasts real, imagined, and somewhere in between. Continue reading

Paper Republic no. 15

Hey all 500+ of you! (One milestone down!) We’re jumping right into the news in this instalment since it’s a little overdue. Do keep your eyes peeled on the Paper Republic website for a new Read Paper Republic series in the very, very near future. This one is guest-edited and includes some of our favourite Chinese poets and translators.

Extracts, stories and poems:


Continue reading

Dream of the Red Chamber: Literary and Translation Perspectives

New Publication
Dream of the Red Chamber: Literary and Translation Perspectives
Edited By Riccardo Moratto, Kanglong Liu, Di-kai Chao

Book Description

This edited volume contains an excellent collection of contributions and presents various informative topics under the central theme: literary and translation approaches to China’s greatest classical novel Hongloumeng.

Acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, Hongloumeng (known in English as The Dream of the Red Chamber or The Story of the Stone) epitomizes 18th century Chinese social and cultural life. Owing to its kaleidoscopic description of Chinese life and culture, the novel has also exerted a significant impact on world literature. Its various translations, either full-length or abridged, have been widely read by an international audience. The contributors to this volume provide a renewed perspective into Hongloumeng studies by bringing together scholarship in the fields of literary and translation studies. Specifically, the use of corpora in the framework of digital humanities in a number of chapters helps readdress many issues of the novel and its translations, from an innovative angle. The book is an insightful resource for both scholars of Chinese literature and for linguists with a focus on translation studies. Continue reading

MCLC 34.1

We are delighted to announce the publication of issue 34.1 (Summer 2022) of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, now published and distributed by Edinburgh University Press. Titles and links to abstracts are listed below. The printed copies are still coming off the press, but subscribers can access the full content right away using the new MCLC repository:

(direct URLs may vary depending on your home institution). Non-subscribers and those without institutional access can read one free article (Shu Yang’s “Wrestling with Tradition: Early Chinese Suffragettes and the Modern Remodeling of the Shrew Trope”) and the “Note from the Editors.” In the latter, we present some of the notable changes coming to the journal, including to layout and JSTOR access. A few things are changing for MCLC, but we hope the transition will be a smooth one for both readers and authors. Most importantly, the scholarship of the journal remains of the highest standard, so we hope you enjoy exploring this latest issue.

Natascha Gentz and Christopher Rosenmeier

Volume 34, Number 1 (Spring 2022)