I Love XXX and Other Plays review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of John B. Weinstein’s review of I Love XXX and Other Plays, by Meng Jinghui, edited by Claire Conceison. The review appears below and at its online home http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/john-weinstein/. My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

I Love XXX and Other Plays

By Meng Jinghui
Edited by Claire Conceison

Reviewed by John B. Weinstein
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2019)

Meng Jinghui, I Love XXX and Other Plays Ed. Claire Conceison. New York: Seagull Books, 2017. Viii+355 pp.+DVD. $45.00 ISBN 9780857423849

I nearly encountered Meng Jinghui’s 孟京辉 play Longing for Worldly Pleasures (思凡) in 1998, when I arrived in Beijing for a few weeks of research for my dissertation on the development of modern comic drama in China. When I met with a theater official in Beijing, I asked what I should see while there; although I cannot recall what he did ultimately suggest I see, I do recall him showing me a program or poster or some such artifact for a production called Longing for Worldly Pleasures.  That, he noted, was what I should have seen, but its run was already over. Had I only planned the trip better.

What I did not yet know, and maybe no one truly knew, though perhaps this official surmised it, was that Meng Jinghui would become THE big thing in Chinese drama in the coming years, and his work, though by no means strictly comedy—and by no means strictly any one thing—might have formed the ending of my research project. To this date, while I have been fortunate enough to see the English-language adaptation of Head without Tailreferenced in the volume’s introduction, and even more fortunate to spend an evening hanging out with Meng himself in his hotel room in Boston, I have never seen a production of Meng’s work within China itself. Can a volume of English translations of Meng Jinghui’s work compensate? 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 <leiqinfeng@gmail.com>

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

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

Love in the New Millennium nominated for Man Booker

Source: Radii (3/13/19)
Can Xue’s “Love in the New Millennium” Nominated for 2019 Man Booker International Prize
The 2019 Man Booker International Prize long list has been announced, with Chinese author Can Xue’s fantastical Love in the New Millennium among the nominees

Chinese avant-garde author Can Xue’s “darkly comic” novel Love in the New Millenium has made the Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list. The story follows “a group of women [that] inhabits a world of constant surveillance” and represents the “most ambitious work of fiction by a writer widely considered the most important novelist working in China today”, according to its English language publisher, Yale University Press.

Deng Xiaohua, the author behind the Can Xue pseudonym, was born in Changsha, in China’s southern province of Hunan. Her father, the one-time editor-in-chief of a prominent newspaper in the province, was labelled an “Ultra-Rightist” in the late 1950s along with other intellectuals of the period, and was sent to the countryside for two years for allegedly leading an anti-Communist group at the paper. Continue reading

“Wuhouci” Tibetan community of Chengdu

Source: High Peaks Pure Earth (2/25/19)
“Wuhouci” The Tibetan Community of Chengdu – Guest Post and Poetry Translation
By Lowell Cook

Photo taken in Wuhouci, Chengdu (Photo credit: Nina Robyn and Drolma Dondrup)

“The Tibetan Community of Chengdu” – An Introduction by Lowell Cook*

There are a number of Tibetan communities outside of the indigenous Tibetan lands and the community of Wuhouci is one of the most vibrant. Wuhouci is a neighborhood in the city of Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, and has earned a name for itself as Chengdu’s Tibetan quarter.

With Sichuan encompassing large parts of Kham and Amdo, Chengdu acts as one of the major centers for Tibetans from these regions to access certain goods and medical care, find work and attend language schools or universities, and even spend their winters. It is said that at any given time, there are around 300,000 Tibetans in Chengdu. When you think about the overall Tibetan population (roughly 6 million), this is a sizable number. Yet, when you consider the entire population of Chengdu (over 14 million), it becomes clear that they are still very much a minority. Continue reading

Wolf Totem and the Post-Mao Utopian review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Yiyan Wang’s review of Wolf Totem and the the Post-Mao Utopian: A Chinese Perspective on Contemporary Western Scholarship (Brill 2018), by Li Xiaojiang and translated by Edward M. Gunn. The review appears below and at its online home: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/yiyan-wang/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Wolf Totem and the Post-Mao Utopian: 
A Chinese Perspective on Contemporary Western Scholarship

By Li Xiaojiang
Translated by Edward Mansfield Gunn

Reviewed by Yiyan Wang
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2019)

Li Xiaojiang, Wolf Totem and the Post-Mao Utopian: A Chinese Perspective on Contemporary Western Scholarship Tr. Edward Mansfield Gunn. Leiden: Brill, 2018. Ix-xviii + 574. ISBN: 978-90-04-27672-7 (Hardcover).

Li Xiaojiang 李小江 is a scholar well-known for her ground-breaking research and extensive publications on gender and women’s issues in Chinese society. Her monograph, Post-Allegory: A Rigorous Explication of Wolf Totem  (后寓言:〈狼图腾〉深度诠释) (Wuhan: Changjiang wenyi, 2010), is a remarkable departure from her usual areas of research. The version here being reviewed is a translation of the 2013 revised edition (修正版), Wolf Totem and the Post-Mao Utopian: A Chinese Perspective on Contemporary Western Scholarship (后乌托邦批评:〈狼图腾〉深度诠释) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin), rendered into English by Edward Gunn. It offers, exactly as the subtitle indicates, “A Chinese Perspective on Contemporary Western Scholarship.”[1] Li’s analysis and positioning of the novel, Wolf Totem 狼图腾 (Jiang Rong 2004; translation by Howard Goldblatt 2009), as a “post” allegory, is a preparation for the core task of the book—to critique contemporary Western scholarship and to propose a new critical paradigm: post-utopian criticism. While Gunn faithfully translates the title of this revised edition as “the Post-Mao Utopian,” I use Li’s original term, “post-allegory” (后寓言), because it is her point of entry for and may help us understand her argument about “post-utopianism.” Continue reading

Roles of Translation in the Course of History–cfp

Culture and Politics: Roles of Translation in the Course of History
The Third International Conference on Chinese Translation History
Organised by Research Centre for Translation, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Co-organised with Department of Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

21 December 2019
Venue: The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The “International Conference on Chinese Translation History” series organised by the Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, aspires to explore Chinese translation history within the bigger framework of world civilisation and human thought. It aims to lay groundwork for new models, methods, and perspectives in this innovative interdisciplinary branch of learning through detailed case studies. Since 2015, the conference series are held every two years, with a different central theme for every conference.

The third conference, “Culture and Politics: Roles of Translation in the Course of History,” now invites submission of panel abstracts as well as abstracts for individual papers. Continue reading

Xiqu surtitle editors and translators needed

Dear MCLC colleagues:

I’m the Artistic Director at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, one of the largest cultural developments in the world right now.

We’ve just opened our first major arts centre, The Xiqu Centre, and are urgently looking to expand our army of people to help us with surtitles for the Xiqu performances.

Please contact me at alison.friedman@wkcda.hk  if you, any of your colleagues, or any of your students have the necessary skills and are looking for freelance work.

Deadlines can be quite tight, so we need committed, professional, knowledgeable and reliable translators and editors.

With appreciation,

Alison M. Friedman 方美昂
Artistic Director, Performing Arts
West Kowloon Cultural District
T: (+852) 2200 0862

Interview with Bruce Humes

Source: The Millions (2/1/19)
A Glimpse into a Different World: The Millions Interviews Bruce Humes
By Matt Hanson


Translator and blogger Bruce Humes has worked to advance global interest in borderland fiction from China, often spotlighting voices from Altaic cultural perspectives. This work began with his English translation of Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian, a novel about the Tungusic-speaking Evenki.

Earlier in his career, Humes translated literature reflecting China’s mainstream urban culture. His work on the novel Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui, published in English in 2001 and a bestseller in Hong Kong and Singapore, is a notable example. The original novel was banned in the People’s Republic of China not simply for what was then considered its shockingly bold depictions of sexual acts, but because Hui was the first female author to unabashedly detail the protagonist’s experience—orgasms and all—from the woman’s point of view. Continue reading

Chinese-English literary translation competition

Dear all,

Just a quick reminder the 5th Bai Meigui translation competition is live and the closing date is 12 midnight (GMT) 25th February. This year’s piece is a (very) short story by Hong Kong crime writer Chan Ho-kei. As ever, the competition is open to anyone, whether an established translator or a first-timer. See our website for further details.

As a footnote to this, can I also promote the publication of the winning entry of last year’s competition, which was exclusively open to high school students of Chinese. Jasmine Alexander’s translation of the Meng Yanan picture book, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival is now available to purchase, as a bilingual edition, from Balestier Press. Jasmine has been learning Chinese for 5 years and, as part of her prize, was mentored by the translator, and Marsh Award holder, Helen Wang, who helped her bring her version to print. It’s a lovely book both as a story for preschoolers and as an inspiration for older Chinese learners (and Jasmine in fact is coming to Leeds tomorrow to talk about her experience to 140 Year 7 pupils who have just started learning Chinese!).

With best wishes from Leeds!

Frances Weightman <f.weightman@leeds.ac.uk>
The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing

Rise of Chinese science fiction

Source: Factor Daily (1/12/19)
Telling the China Story: The Rise and Rise of Chinese Science Fiction
By Gautham Shenoy

“Science fiction is as rare as unicorn horns, which shows in a way the intellectual poverty of our times”, wrote Lu Xun, one of China’s most towering and revered literary figures, writing about science fiction literature in China in his preface to his 1903 translation of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon.

116 years later, science fiction in – and from – the People’s Republic of China has come a long way since then, to become what is arguably the most popular genre of literature in China and with translations of Chinese science fiction picking up pace and finding a ready and eager audience – to the extent that some have even referred to it China’s greatest cultural export since kung fu – one can safely say that Chinese SF’s journey to the west (and elsewhere) has only just begun, with its star showing no signs of diminishing. But it wasn’t always so. Continue reading

African literature wave in China

Source: Quartz Africa (1/15/19)
Chimamanda Adichie is leading the rise of an African literature wave in China
By Abdi Latif Dahir

An African “literary icon” arrives in China

Dear Ijeawele is a forthright and frank book, a 15-step letter about how to raise a feminist child. But when it’s published in China around April this year, it will garner its author, the celebrated Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a new status: becoming one of few African writers whose body of work has mostly, if not all, been translated to Chinese.

“By far the hottest African writer among Chinese fans today is Nigeria’s Adichie,” says Bruce Humes, an American linguist and Chinese literary translator. For years now, Humes has compiled a bilingual list of contemporary African fiction published in Chinese since the 1980s, putting together a list of novels, poetry, drama, and short story collections available to readers in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Humes, who has lived and worked across China since the late 70s, has so far identified 146 translated works from 66 African authors. Continue reading