Cambria Press Author Carolyn T. Brown – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Dr. Carolyn T. Brown, retired Director of the Office of Scholarly Programs and the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, gave a speech about her book, Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung, at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Dr. Carolyn Brown’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

 

Cambria Press Publication Author Carolyn Brown

“I always seem to do things a little bit differently from other people, so my questions are questions that I’ve asked myself over many years, and they are embedded in my comments.

My first encounter Lu Xun’s short stories occurred during my sophomore year at Cornell University in a survey course in modern Chinese literature in translation. We must have read several of his iconic stories, undoubtedly “A Madman’s Diary” and “The True Story of Ah Q”. One particular story sent me reeling. When I reached the conclusion of “The New Year’s Sacrifice,” my whole being recoiled in a physiological grimace. I knew something had happened to make me almost double over in pain, but I did not know what. No short story I had ever read had ever delivered such a visceral punch before.

In the decades that followed, I asked myself multiple times why I, a black woman from Queens, New York, would have found Lu Xun’s stories so compelling, why I would have returned to them repeatedly through the years, why their importance increased to the point of consuming hours of my attention through the hard times of my life, why during my career as an academic I would write about them, and why in my post-academic career I would still find the need to close the circle and write this book.

My presence in that Cornell classroom was, in the first place, a bit unlikely. When I entered college, I knew virtually nothing about China. I had never met anyone who came from China or who had lived there, as best I can recall; nor had I felt a particular urge to visit China myself, not that I could have because at that time Americans were barred from travel to “Red China” as it was called. But I had received a rigorous high school training in the “history of civilization,” which as it was then taught was the heroic history of the great white men of Western Europe and the United States. My immature intellect knew enough from my family’s history to know that black people were a full part of the American story even though the textbooks omitted that fact. From my mother’s chinoiserie home décor and a few books in our family library, I also knew that “civilization” included China, which had as much (or more) history and culture—art, literature, philosophy, and so forth—as Europe, and the quality was as good or better. Out of revenge for “the lies” I had been taught, once in college I turned to China, being too young and inexperienced to know that all nations lie to some degree about their histories. I wanted truth!

So there I was, studying Chinese history, language, and literature and reading stories by the man who, for much of the twentieth century, was considered modern China’s greatest writer. He was a central figure in the tumultuous decades of that century, both a product of his time and an agent giving it shape. He is still appreciated for his profound insights into the nature of Chinese society, his dedication to ending the suffering of his nation’s populace, his deep moral integrity, and his unrelenting commitment to self-scrutiny. He never relented in his struggle against the forces that stood in the way of a more humane China, even though he despaired of success. Whatever my initial motivation, there I was, sitting in that classroom, deeply moved by these stories from a different time and place. Why?

Lu Xun’s stories stories are clear-eyed critiques of the social norms and conditions of Chinese society that were, in his eyes and those of many of his reform-minded contemporaries, essential causes of China’s insufficient response to the calamities visited upon it by the forced encounter with Western imperial powers. Lu Xun took what was known, familiar, and accepted and exposed it to be cruel and inhumane, and so opened his readers’ eyes to seeing and understanding in new ways. I had felt the impact of that wrenching reversal of perspective without quite knowing what was acting upon me.

In later years, during my own hard times, I probed my own psyche in an attempt to understand unfortunate patterns of my own creation that were shaping my life and causing me considerable suffering. At the same time in my professional life as an academic I was also living with these short stories, searching below their surfaces for patterns that shaped them. As I was rethinking the narrative patterns of my life, I found myself drawn more fully into Lu Xun’s rewriting of the narrative of his contemporary Chinese reality, looking for the internally generated cultural patterns which had been bequeathed by that tradition and which, to his mind, accounted for dysfunctional dimensions of China’s interaction with external forces and events. In interrogating his texts, I found myself searching for embedded structures that were generating these manifestations, a process analogous to the tasks I was performing in my own life. Somewhere along the way, I encountered the work of Carl Jung and over time began to see the connections between his work, Lu Xun’s analyses, and my life’s journey. This book is the result of that process of inquiry and the best answer I can give to my wonderment about the capacity of these short stories to touch me so profoundly.

My thanks to Cambria Press and all the wonderful friends who have helped me over the decades to bring this book to fruition. Thank you.”

* * * * *

About the book

Scholars who study Lu Xun’s modern short stories have usually focused on the content and used the stories to understand Lu Xun the writer or to sheds light on his times; they have attended to the structure only to the degree that it illuminates these concerns. This study executes a reversal, decentering the content and focusing on the structure as a primary means to understand the texts, and it seeks to understand the Lu Xun who presents himself through his work, not Lu Xun the full human being. The structure that emerges from a close reading of the stories does indeed present an implicit therapeutic model. Carl Jung’s theories of the normative human self articulate with some precision Lu Xun’s implicit vision of spiritual cure. Jung, one of three key founders of modern Western psychology, grounded his understanding of the human psyche in personal self-scrutiny and extensive clinical practice, and so his theories offer a validated psychological model for interpreting the textual evidence.

Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung thus deploys a new methodology and proposes a new model for interpreting Lu Xun’s two collections of modern short stories. Perhaps more important is that understanding Lu Xun’s psychological model opens new ways of imagining the relevance of his stories to timeless human concerns. Contemporary scholars increasingly ask about Lu Xun’s value now that the overt subjects of his concerns have receded into the past, and they have also looked to understand his role in the context of the international intellectual currents of his time. Although not primarily concerned with the sources of Lu Xun’s creativity, this study does suggest resonances between the structure of his thought as revealed in the stories and that of key nineteenth-century European philosophers and writers. Even while being firmly grounded in his own times, Lu Xun evoked universal themes and archetypes of the human condition. This book will appeal to scholars in Asian studies, comparative literature, and psychology.

Title: Reading Lu Xun Through Carl Jung
Author: Carolyn T. Brown
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979374
312 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979374.cfm

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.

Advertisements

Cambria Press Author Liu Jianmei – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Liu Jianmei, Professor of Chinese Literature at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, gave a speech about her book, Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics, coedited with Mabel Lee, at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Liu Jianmei’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Liu Jianmei

“I will jump right to the first question people ask about our book, which is what does your book bring that is new to Gao Xingjian studies? Previous studies on Gao Xingjian usually focus on particular areas of his fiction, plays, painting, film or poetry, or used his essays to explore his ideas on literature and creative aesthetics. This new book, which I have coedited with Mabel Lee, aims to cross the boundaries of these media, and to provide a comprehensive investigation of Gao Xingjian’s creations and ideas. The purpose of this is to showcase his transcultural, transdisciplinary, and transmedia explorations, and examine how he has persistently projected the struggles and agonies of the individual’s inner landscape into vivid images on stage, in films, in black-and-white paintings, and in the multilayered narrative expressions in fiction and poetry, and even in dance and music.

The second question people ask is what is different in your approach to this volume? Well, this volume crosses the boundaries of traditional academic writing and takes the reader to the in-between spaces of different styles of writing, research, and commentary, which help us better understand Gao’s endeavors in literary, theatrical, and pictorial creation and their accompanying philosophical insights. The chapters in this book transgress the boundaries of different media and genres—fiction, drama, poetry, painting, film—in their deliberations, and these diverse approaches serve to broaden the scope of Gao Xingjian research through what can be described as a dimension of heightened freedom, that is suggestive of Chan Buddhist comprehension. Gao Xingjian often states that for him creative innovations emerge at boundaries and in-between space. The aim of this collection thus seeks to explore such boundaries and in-between spaces in academic research on Gao Xingjian.

Finally, I want to thank Toni Tan and Victor Mair for their strong support of our new book. I also want to thank our contributors for their excellent essays and David Armstrong for his patience and help through the whole process of publication. We are really grateful to Cambria Press.

* * * * *

About the book

Since Gao Xingjian’s Nobel win in 2000 he has demonstrated his profound erudition across cultures in his creative explorations in literature and the visual arts. His intense intellectual curiosity can seldom be matched by his contemporaries, and his creative achievements in literature, the dramatic arts, painting, and film have been extraordinary, and have been reflected in his aesthetic treatises on art and literature. English-language publications have been in the forefront of Gao Xingjian research since the 1980s, and this book fills a Gao Xingjian research hiatus simply because it is hard to keep abreast of his stridently innovative creations. This volume brings readers up to date on Gao Xingjian, who is probably in this age of uncertainties, one of the foremost aesthetes in literature and the visual arts.

Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics demonstrates the extensive reach of Gao Xingjian’s transcultural, transdisciplinary and transmedia explorations. Showcased here is the panoramic aesthetics of a polymath who has successfully personified modern-time renaissance by projecting the struggles of the individual’s inner landscape into vivid images on stage, film, black-and-white paintings, and in the multilayered narrative expressions of fiction and poetry, even dance and music, to evoke a sense of sincerity and authenticity that penetrates a viewer/reader’s heart. The volume is divided into four parts: philosophical inquiry; transdiscipline, transgenre, transculture; cine-poems with paintings, dance and music; and identifying and defining the self. The chapters probe different aspects of Gao Xingjian’s work, bearing testimony to their diverse specializations.

This book will appeal to Chinese literature scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and general readers with an interest in the broad subjects of contemporary Chinese literature, high arts, avant-garde culture, women’s and gender studies, Sinophone film and transmedia culture, comparative literature, and cultural studies.

Title: Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics
Editors: Mabel Lee and Liu Jianmei
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979466
362 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979466.cfm

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.

Cambria Press Author Jonathan Stalling – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Jonathan Stalling, Professor of English and Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma, gave a speech about his book, Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology, coedited with Lin Tai-man and Yanwing Leung, at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Jonathan Stalling’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Jonathan Stalling

 

“I’m going to jump right in about the two questions that are asked about the book. The first is how did this volume of short fiction by contemporary Taiwanese women come about? The longer version of the answer is that it starts about twelve years ago, in Arkansas. We’ll fast forward to a couple of decades. The next relevant bit would be working in Chinese Literature Today.  Over the process of six or seven years, I became more and more familiar, although I didn’t start out as a Taiwan scholar or editor. Gradually, I became more and more connected to the Taiwanese literary scene, with people like Li Yang, Zhu Tianwen, Yang Mu, and others. That eventually brought me to Taiwan for the first time to meet with the poet Ye Weilian and during that time, I toured a part of Taipei with him, and met some of the older generations of poets and the newer generations of poets as well. Second time I came around, I met with fiction writers, architects, and dancers, as well as entrepreneurs, archivists, scholars, critics, poets, and so on, and got a deeper and more textured sense of what was happening on the Taiwan scene. It was that time that I met Jack Kuei [the Director of Taiwan Academy at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO)] and we started thinking about what was in fact greatly missing and it was over two decades that there was an anthology of Taiwanese women writers in English. And that is really the point of genesis. And I did write this down as well, and that this volume would not be possible if the Taiwanese literary scene were not so vibrant and diverse and if this robust productivity were not curated by TaiPen over many decades starting in  1972. That repository of rich translated literary material by some of the very best translators in the Sinosphere and Englishspheres was really what made this volume possible.

Furthermore it would not be possible if it were not for the support of Jack Kuei, who has been a driving force behind this work and others. It would also not have been possible without my Co-editors Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung, and finally Toni Tan, and her amazing editorial and marketing team at Cambria. Speaking here right now with all of you is simply another extension of the care and energy that goes into the Sinophone World Series.

The second question is what is your favorite story in the anthology? Each story is so different from the next as each takes the reader from the first page and pulls them through such fascinating narratives that we have little choice but to with the authors adolescence, marriage, motherhood, sex, politics and economics on so many different scales. —We are there in the snapshots of lives in transition, we are there as whole lives appear and disappear in time-lapse images across decades, and we are there while a few implode into the stillness of a single bottomless moment. That is all to say, I cannot answer this question with a single story when the entire, pointedly gendered exploration of modern Taiwan is such a compelling and timely collection.”

* * * * *

About the book

A Pacific island of roughly 14,400 square miles, Taiwan lies just over a hundred miles off the China’s southeast shoreline and seven hundred miles south of Japan. It has been a contested cultural space between its original aboriginal inhabitants (Taiyals and Vonums) and many generations of Chinese immigrants as well as waves of Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese colonial inhabitants. All of this provides the backdrop for some of the richest Sinophone literature in the world. Unfixed, vibrant, and deeply engaged with a sense of place, Taiwanese women writers—from the experimental poetry pioneer Hsia Yu to younger multimedia poets like Ye Mimi to powerhouse authors like Li Ang and Chu T’ien-wen—are continually pushing the boundaries of the possible and unlocking new directions for Sinophone literature in the twenty-first century.

With this first English-language anthology of contemporary Taiwanese women writers in decades, readers are finally provided with a window to the widest possible range of voices, styles, and textures of contemporary Taiwanese women writers. Each story unfolds and takes readers through fascinating narratives spanning adolescence, marriage, and motherhood as well as sex, politics and economics on many different scales—some appear as snapshots of lives in transition, others reveal whole lives as time-lapse images across decades, while a few implode into the stillness of a single bottomless moment. Individually each story expresses its own varied, expansively heterogeneous narrative; when read as a whole collection, readers will discover a pointedly gendered exploration of modern Taiwan.

Title: Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology
Editors:  Jonathan Stalling, Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979558
226 pp.  |   2018   |   Paperback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979558.cfm

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.

Cambria Press Author Albert Welter – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Albert Welter, Head of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona, gave a speech about his book, The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy (Da Song Seng shilue), at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Albert Welter’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Albert Welter

Below is a transcript of Professor Albert Welter’s speech:

“I know there are some of you who have worked on projects longer than I have on this one, but I doubt there are many. I started working on the early Song dynasty literati Buddhist Zanning as a post-doctoral project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, back in the late 1980’s, and have continued to work on this project intermittently in the intervening years. Here we are, 30 years on, and finally, thanks to Cambria Press, and aided by another Canada Council grant along the way, my study of Zanning and translation of his Da Song Seng Shilüe (Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy) is finally seeing the light of day.

I tend to get asked two different kinds of questions regarding my work: Americans ask me how I got interested in China, Chinese ask how I got interested in Buddhism. As we all know, religion can be a touchy subject in China, less so these days than before, but still needing some delicacy at times. I recall my first time to China in the early to mid-1980’s being encircled on the Bund in Shanghai by a crowd of a hundred or more curious Chinese, wondering who the laowai was in their recently opened but still mostly forbidden land. When they learned that I had come to study Buddhism, a nervous hush fell over the crowd. My Chinese interlocutor for the group, an “elderly” gentleman (“elderly” being a relative term, as I have come to find 30 years later) quickly asked me a few clarifying questions about the nature of my study and was able to announce to the palpable relief of the crowd that I was “biàn zhèng wéi wù zhǔ yì zhě” (a dialectical materialist). The day was saved.

Sinologists, on the other hand, tend to ask me how I got interested in Zanning. Perhaps they are just as relieved to find that Zanning was not my primary interest but was an outcome of a larger fascination with the origins of Song dynasty Buddhism, the role of Buddhism in the transition from Tang to Song, and how such a thing as a Buddhist literatus, or Buddhist ru or ruseng, came to play such a prominent role. My interest in Zanning generated a number of contradictions that have continued to percolate. For example, on a panel a few years ago tasked with the question, “when did ru become Confucian?” it fell upon me to suggest, thanks to Zanning, that ru did not always become Confucian. On the topic of the association of daoxue with the rise of Song Dynasty Neo-Confucianism, I, thanks to Zanning, get to remind the audience that daoxue was but one part of a larger Songxue movement, and that Songxue included, quite prominently, the study of Buddhism, an interest that prevailed among literati throughout the Song. Buddhists like Zanning were also knowledgeable advocates of Confucian teaching to an extent that Confucians looked to him for advice on their own teachings and practices. Zanning forces us to ask fundamental questions about the nature of Chinese Buddhism, not as a haven for monastic recluses, but as an avenue for engaged scholars to participate in the highest level of debates over pressing matters of cultural significance. Zanning reminds us that Song Dynasty Buddhists were not pushed to the margins of society, even if dynastic historians did a masterful job of erasing their presence. To those of you who find the grammar and vocabulary of Buddhist texts “messy” to the point of incomprehension, Zanning’s Topical Compendium may offer some relief, just as it did when Emperor Taizong commissioned it as a primer on Buddhist history, institutions, and practices, for the newly formed bureaucracy of the Song Dynasty.

Finally, I want to say that I am especially pleased to be able to publish with Cambria. I’m not sure any other press would have taken on a 700-page publication project, roughly half of which is devoted to notes and appendices. And they have done a masterful job with great support and enthusiasm. I want to thank Toni Tan, David Armstrong, and Victor Mair and everyone else who has worked on this. I’m very impressed with the quality of the work, and the speed with which you executed all the minute tasks that go along with publishing. And I’m really happy to have published with a press devoted to the finest works on Sinology. Zanning would be pleased. Thank you.

* * * * *

About the book

The early Song dynasty (960–1278) was a time of immense intellectual fervor, as China rulers, after over a century of internecine warfare, embarked on a new course that promoted wen (literary or cultural arts) over wu (martial prowess). With the new literary based agenda came a discussion of how to constitute Song’s wen agenda, how to define wen values, what kinds of literature should be included and what excluded, and so on. Zanning (919–1001) was the leading Buddhist literatus at the Song court and his Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy represents a major contribution to this debate, the understanding of which would be deficient without it.

The relationship between religion and the state is a topic of major concern in the history of religions. While books, articles, and essays on this topic are common for other regions of the world, especially the West and increasingly for Islamic regions, there are few works discussing the dynamics of religion/state relations in China. Studies are beginning to appear that discuss the dynamics of religion/state relations in modern China, and while many studies of pre-modern Chinese religion touch on this topic, there is no study in English that addresses this topic head on. The relationship between religion and the state in China is a perennial problem that shows no sign of losing its significance in contemporary international affairs, and studies of the history of this relationship with a focus on Buddhism, the most articulate religious force in China during the past couple of millennia, cannot but have a real value to scholars and students.

Zanning’s Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy engages the issue of the Buddhist presence in China directly, arguing for the clear and consistent contributions of Buddhism to Chinese culture and society in an unambiguous way. While ceding claims to independence, Zanning offers that Buddhism is an integral component of China’s culture, not an alien tradition anathema to Chinese values, but an important contributing factor to them. While other works argue in favor of Buddhism in the Chinese context in doctrinal and intellectual terms, only the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy asserts the necessity of Buddhist institutions and customs as assets in administrative affairs.

The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy is thus a very important book for Asian studies, Buddhist studies, and history collections.

Title: The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and the Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Clergy (Da Song Seng shilue)
Author: Albert Welter
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979428
722 pp.  |   2018   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979428.cfm

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.

 

Cambria Press Publication Review: Zhang Yimou

Congratulations to Professor Wendy Larson on the outstanding review of her book Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture in the journal Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC)!

#AAS2018

 

The book review notes:

“At 420 pages, Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture is a magnum opus. … Although I have emphasized the themes that run through the book here, each chapter in Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture is autonomous, making it possible to assign individual chapters for classroom use. Larson writes lucidly and persuasively … Taken together, as I hope I have shown, the chapters combine to produce one of the most detailed and sustained analyses of a certain trajectory through much of Zhang’s most powerful work. They make a persuasive case for taking the popular in contemporary Chinese culture seriously, regardless of questions of taste. Larson’s rich and engaging book is a seminal text in Zhang studies. … Larson’s welcome book reminds us that although the field of Chinese cinema studies has grown and diversified, it is perhaps in the realm of popular film that the most work remains to be done. Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture takes a huge step down that road.”

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.

 

#AAS2018 Program – Cambria Press Back Cover Ad

We are excited for the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies, taking place in Washington, DC, next week. We have six book launches, and these books and their authors are featured on the outside back cover of the #AAS2018 program. Please come to the Cambria Press booth (109) in the exhibit hall to check these books out.

 

#AAS2018

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.

Double Book Launch & Distinguished Professor Lecture by Mabel Lee

Professor Mabel Lee, Distinguished Professor in the “Chinese Culture in a World Context” research project at the Open University of Hong Kong, will be giving a lecture “Transcending Cultural Traditions: Lu Xun and Gao Xingjian” on March 19 (Monday) at 2:30 p.m. at the OUHK Main Campus in the B0614, 6/F. Professor Lee is best known for her translations of Nobel Laureate of Literature Gao Xingjian’s writings and as coeditor of The University of Sydney East Asian Series (1986–2000). There will also be a double launch of Professor Lee’s latest books, Painting History: China’s Revolution in a Global Context by Shen Jiawei and Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics (coedited with Liu Jianmei, HKUST). The two books have just been published and will also be launched at the Cambria booth (109) at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Mabel Lee

Like Cambria Press on Facebook and
follow Cambria Press on Twitter to stay posted.