Cambria Press Publication Review: The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Congratulations to Professor Christopher Lupke on the excellent review of his book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion, by Film International, which praises it for being

a well-informed book straddling between the disciplines of Chinese Studies and Film Studies and is highly relevant to film buffs, sinophiles, film researchers, and students.

The review notes that Lupke’s book:

provides Chinese-speaking readers a cinematic approach to Hou’s well-known and less well-known works and non-Chinese speaking readers a holistic view on Hou’s works and a window into Chinese-language scholarship on Hou. By detaching Hou Hsiao-hsien’s works from the frequently-used framework of European arthouse tradition, the book strives to move away from a Eurocentric view and delves deep into film texts. Plot summary is detailed; historical settings and socio-political undertone are foregrounded.

The review also commends the book because

The ambition of balancing between Chinese Studies and Film Studies and between textual analysis, contextual information, and theoretical discussion is also rather difficult to achieve. Yet the book remains an enjoyable read for lovers of Hou’s films and a comprehensive and informative guide to the sinophone world of Hou Hsiao-hsien; it bridges the scholarship on Hou in English and Chinese and embraces Hou’s oeuvres in its entirety.

This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania) and the Cambria Global Performing Arts Series headed by John M. Clum (Duke University).

Hou Hsiao-hsien

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AAS 2017 Toronto: Books and Scholars in Asian Studies to Watch

AAS 2017 Cambria Press Authors

Check out the new books by these Asianists at the Cambria Press booth 109 at the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. (AAS) #AAS2017 conference in Toronto.

Top (left to right): Wilt Idema (Harvard University), Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania), Wendy Larson (University of Oregon), Mark Bender (The Ohio State University), and Charlotte Furth (University of Southern California).

Bottom (left to right): Zhansui Yu (Nazareth College), Christopher Lupke (University of Alberta), Takayoshi Yamamura (Hokkaido University), I-Hsien Wu (City College of New York), and Philip Seaton (Hokkaido University).

Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania) will make a special appearance at the Cambria Press booth (109) on Friday (March 17) at 11 a.m. to discuss the Cambria Sinophone World Series and his latest book Buddhist Transformations and Interactions. In addition, six other new books are being launched just in time for the AAS conference. These are:

  • Zhang Yimou by Wendy Larson (University of Oregon)

    “Larson’s book is important for any reader interested in how the political sphere and visual culture redefine each other.” —Yomi Braester, University of Washington; and Coeditor, Journal of Chinese Cinemas

  • The Borderlands of Asia by Mark Bender (The Ohio State University) 

    “When it comes to other books on the market, there is nothing close to this book in terms of quality or range of material. This is a unique and valuable addition to the field of literature and Asian studies.”—Jonathan Stalling, University of Oklahoma; and Editor, Chinese Literature Today

  • Eroticism and Other Literary Conventions in Chinese Literature by I-Hsien Wu (CUNY) 

    “I-Hsien Wu has done brilliant work in teasing out the intertextual threads of The Story of the Stone. In a very astute manner, she examines sources drawn from performing arts and erotic fiction, identifies ideological and affective contestations, and ponders the consequences of the novel as a text in flux.” —David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University

  • Chinese Avant-garde Fiction by Zhansui Yu (Nazareth College) 

    “This thoughtful book offers fresh insights into avant-garde fiction in the early decades of China’s reform. Engaging Chinese and Western traditions, Yu Zhansui argues forcefully that the Chinese avant-garde carries on the probe into the darkness of history in a quest for transcendent truths about human conditions.” —Ban Wang, Stanford University

  • Opening to China by Charlotte Furth (Univerity of Southern California) 

    “Few Americans today have any sense of how far China has come since its opening in the early 1980s. Charlotte Furth was there to see the start of the defrost with the country’s opening and her lively account of her experiences in China then provides a unique and invaluable record. It is useful in these days of rising tensions between China and the U.S. to be reminded of China’s social reality not very long ago.” —Gordon H. Chang, Stanford University

  • Contents Tourism in Japan by Philip Seaton, Takayoshi Yamamura, Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, and Kyungjae Jang

    “This may be the best book ever written on tourism in Japan! This work is on one of the most important subjects in contemporary tourism studies and Japan studies, perhaps a forerunner of things that are also happening in the Korean and Chinese worlds and elsewhere, which makes it doubly important.” —Nelson Graburn, UC Berkeley

Taika square sneak peek

Take a sneak peek at the Cambria Press Asian studies catalog

Taika square book sales

Use coupon code AAS2017 at to save 30% on all hardcover titles. Offer ends May 15, 2017.

Taika square book

Forthcoming book in the Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security Studies (RCCS) Series headed by Dr. Geoffrey R. H. Burn

Taika square BAG

Come to booth 109 to get a complimentary Cambria Sinophone World Series tote bag

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Taika square dessert

Sheraton Toronto Churchill Room

#MLA17 Events – Meet Cambria Press Series Editors and Authors

Cambria Press would like to invite #MLA17 attendees to join us for the following events:


Meet Professor Román de la Campa
(University of Pennsylvania)

General Editor of the Cambria Studies in
Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series

Friday (January 6) at 5 p.m.
Cambria Press Booth 509, MLA Book Exhibit Hall


* * * * *

Meet Professor Victor Mair
(University of Pennsylvania)

General Editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series
Saturday (January 7) at 5:15 p.m
Cambria Press Booth 509, MLA Book Exhibit Hall


* * * * *

Cosponsored Asian Studies Reception

Saturday (January 7) at 8:45 p.m
Room 411-412, Philadelphia Marriott


* * * * *

Please also come visit us at the Cambria Press booth (509) in the book exhibit hall.

Friday ( January 6), 9 a.m.– 6 p.m.
Saturday (January 7), 9 a.m.– 6 p.m.
Sunday (January 8), 9 a.m.– 1 p.m.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Congratulations to to Dr. Christopher Lupke, Professor and Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta, on the outstanding review of his book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien, in the journal Modern Chinese Language and Cutlure (MCLC).


The review praises the book because

“In plain, jargon-free language replete with astute insights garnered from decades of scholarly engagement with the films of Hou Hsiao-hsien and Taiwanese cinematic and literary culture, Lupke sets out to lift the veil of the technical finesse and structural ambiguity that enshrouds much of Hou’s oeuvre and frequently frustrates film spectators. In this endeavor alone, Lupke succeeds brilliantly. … Lupke not only demonstrates his astute familiarity with Hou Hsiao-hsien scholarship, which he critically engages with throughout the study, but also reveals his intense familiarity with lesser known yet highly insightful details about Hou’s relationship with his collaborators Zhu Tianwen and Wu Nianzhen. … Read more

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Author Interview with Christopher Lupke

Christopher Lupke’s latest book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien, will be released next week at the 2016 Association of Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference in Seattle.

Professor Lupke is one of the few who has visited the set of Hou’s latest film, The Assassin (2015) and includes a discussion of it in his book. He will be at the Cambria Sinophone World Series event on Saturday evening in the Jefferson Room at the Sheraton Seattle. It will be a great time to learn more about his work and ask him questions about the book.

Hou Hsiao-hsien

In the meantime, we have a short interview with Professor Lupke about the book here to start things off.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
CL: “When I was in graduate school, I happened to see Hou Hsiao-hsien’s film A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985). It totally blew me away. I watched a lot of Chinese films mainly to maintain my listening comprehension, but I was not particularly impressed. Hou’s film was spectacular and subtle at the same time. I immediately knew that Taiwan cinema had changed forever. A few years later, his film A City of Sadness (1989) sealed the deal. I have been fascinated by his work ever since and over a long period of time developed the material for The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice and Motion.

Hou Hsiao-hsien scholarship is now voluminous. This is a testament to the compelling quality of his work. About ten years ago, I realized that if I wanted to say something definitive about his work, I should write a whole book. My basic goal has been to illustrate how his work is intricate on a formal level but still intimately tied to cultural, historical and political issues in Taiwan and East Asia. I knew I couldn’t be exhaustive, but I wanted to be comprehensive. And that’s what I set out to do.”

Q: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
CL: Readers can go to my book as a sort of one-stop for information on any and all of Hou’s feature length productions. I discuss them all to one extent or another. Secondly, on the chapters that feature very close analysis (Chapters 2 through 6), I provide detailed insight that can help unlock some of the mystery of this very intricate and idiosyncratic auteur filmmaker. His films require careful dissection, and that’s what I do. Third, for film lovers who don’t know Chinese, the last chapter is sixty pages of interviews I have translated from Chinese that heretofore has been inaccessible to people who just love Hou because he is a great director.
Finally, the first chapter sketches what I call the “odyssey” of Hou Hsiao-hsien – how he has changed (and not changed) over the past three and a half decades. I tried to say something about all of his feature films. Readers can utilize that chapter to get the big picture of Hou’s contribution. The book as a whole engages much of the secondary scholarship on Hou Hsiao-hsien in English and in Chinese. It is impossible to make reference to it all, because it has become an industry of its own. However, through my book readers will be able to identify many of the other scholars working on Hou Hsiao-hsien and others, and can use my book to track down this secondary scholarship, should they wish to do further study.

Q: What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?
CL: Hou Hsiao-hsien is one of those geniuses of the screen who, by virtue of the density of his work, will always be of interest to scholars and critics. He’s a classic. There will be no end to Hou Hsiao-hsien scholarship. Additional work needs to be done on the Chinese literary and discursive context that underlies his works. His work also will benefit from more scholarship in English by people who are fluent in not only in the Hoklo (Taiwanese) language but also in Hakka.

It also would be very interesting to pursue in more depth some of the formal aspects of Hou’s work such as set and costume design. It is such an important component of his production. There are now books in Chinese that discuss in further detail the construction of these things in films like The Assassin (2015) and Flowers of Shanghai (1998).

The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series (General Editor: Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania) and the Cambria Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series (General Editor: John Clum, Duke University).

Read excerpts from The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien.

Learn more about The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien and recommend it.

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Start the New Year Right, with a Nobel Laureate!

Today is Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian’s birthday! In celebration and in honor of all his tremendous contributions to the literary world, we highlight his eponymous book, Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation, which Gao himself has maintained is the key to understanding all his creative works.

This book will be very welcome by fans of Gao’s works. Anyone who has read Soul Mountain would appreciate this book. A review of the book in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC) states that the book is:

“easy to read and helps to explain concepts of Gao’s that are not readily understood in Western languages. The work has been edited carefully and, while the language is appropriate for a critical work, technical terms have been explained and translated into common usage for lay readers. It is a beautifully produced book, with a cover that shows the writer Gao Xingjian engaged in deep introspection … highly readable and engaging.”

This is a critical book for understanding the works of a “major voice in literary aesthetics and politics, a Chinese Nobel Prize winner who remains a leading figure in creative circles and in dialogues and debates between China and the West.” (MCLC).

Get a 30% discount today on the hardcover edition
by entering the coupon code NewYear16.

Cambria Press - Editors' Favorite! Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation

Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation

See also the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Victor H. Mair
(University of Pennsylvania).

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Victor Mair (Cambria Sinophone World Series Editor) to give Distinguished Lecture at the University of Hong Kong this week

Shu-mei Shih Sinophone Victor Mair

Victor Mair (University of Pennslvania), general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, will be giving a distinguished lecture “The Impact of the Internet on the Development of Chinese Languages at the University of Hong Kong this Friday (November 27) at 4:30 p.m. The moderator will be Dr. Shu-mei Shih, who is on the editorial board of the Cambria Sinophone World Series.

Dr. Mair will also be at the University of Hong Kong a day earlier to be the commentator for Dr. Pui-ling Tang’s presentation “Bronze Inscriptions, Bamboo Manuscripts, and the Shijing : Mutual Verification of Excavated Sources and Transmitted Literature,”  which will take place on Thursday (November 26) at 4:30 p.m.

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