Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Asian Literary Voices

Asian Literary Voices: From Marginal to Mainstream

Edited by Philip F. Williams
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 176
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Asian Literary Voices
    Book Description:

    Brings together some of the most exciting recent scholarship on Asian literature and culture, emphasising East Asia yet extending to South Asia Combines original findings of interest to specialists with a clear style of writing and argumentation that makes the volume accessible and appealing to the general reader Brings to life a wide range of Asian literary and scholarly figures important in their time and remain relevant and yet whose significance has been poorly understood This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0819-8
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Introduction: Asian Literary Voices
    (pp. 9-12)
    Philip F. Williams

    Gathering together some of the most original contemporary research on Asian literature and culture, this volume presents a wide range of formerly marginalized Asian voices from all three of the primary cultures of northeast Asia – China, Japan, and Korea – along with the Indian subcontinent to the south and west. The topics covered extend from Sanskrit poetesses of over a millennia ago to Chinese women novelists and bloggers of the twenty-first century. Originally presented at biennial conferences of the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), each chapter has undergone a competitive selection process and then been carefully revised –...

  5. 1 Korean and Japanese Portraits of Ideal Lovers
    (pp. 13-30)
    Susan Lee

    This chapter is broadly concerned with the concept of the “talented woman” in the cultures of China, Korea, and Japan. It investigates how the ideal was constructed in these societies where the participation of women in the political, intellectual, and artistic spheres was rigidly circumscribed by Confucian ideals of womanhood and women’s assigned roles within the political, social, and familial orders. Of narrower interest is the phenomenon of the “talented woman” ideal and its common identification with the courtesan or high-class prostitute in these three cultural traditions; this is precisely what occurs in two paintings that serve as the focus...

  6. 2 Yamada Bimyō’s “Musashino” and the Development of Early Meiji Historical Fiction
    (pp. 31-40)
    Daniel J. Sullivan

    Yamada Bimyō (1868-1910) established his position at the forefront of the Japanese literary establishment with the publication of his short story “Musashino,” which first appeared in the November and December issues ofYomiuri shinbunin 1887, and was later reprinted in his critically acclaimed collection entitledNatsukodachi. In this chapter, I will explore some of the rhetorical devices unique to “Musashino” – and how its publication contributed to the revitalization and transformation of Japanese historical fiction in a way not seen since the zenith of the Edo period (1603-1868)yomihongenre.¹

    To claim that a single work had such a...

  7. 3 From Atomized to Networked: Rural-to-Urban Migrants in Twentieth-century Chinese Narrative
    (pp. 41-52)
    Philip F. Williams

    The migrant worker from the countryside [nongmin gong] has become an increasingly noticeable and ubiquitous figure in most large cities of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This has especially been the case since the 1990s, when the “floating population” [liudong renkou] came to make up between one-fourth and one-third of the total population of China’s largest cities, Shanghai and Beijing (Medeiros 2008;RedOrbit2008). Near the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, there were approximately five million migrant workers each in Shanghai and Beijing.¹ Yet widespread discrimination has resulted from the way the PRC government’s household...

  8. 4 Sex for Sex’s Sake? The “Genital Writings” of the Chinese Bad-Girl Writers
    (pp. 53-62)
    Shelley W. Chan

    The three decades since the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) have witnessed a dramatic change in Chinese women’s literature from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Zhang Jie’s “Love Must Not Be Forgotten” written in 1979 and in some ways inaugurating post-Mao women’s writings, is known for its questioning of the Cultural Revolution era’s taboo on sympathetic portrayals of love outside of marriage. In this story, the male and female protagonists are afflicted with love for each other and the impossibility of being together, for the man has a wife whom he married out of a sense of responsibility...

  9. 5 In and Out of Home: Bing Xin Recontextualized
    (pp. 63-70)
    Mao Chen

    Bing Xin stands as a unique and important figure among the many prominent Chinese woman writers of the twentieth century. Her early involvement in the May Fourth New Culture Movement, which began in 1919, has placed her among the generation of writers who challenged tradition and advocated the reappraisal of Chinese culture. Like so many other May Fourth authors, Bing Xin assumed the responsibility of “revealing the problems of society to the reader” in her literary work. Her so-called “issue stories” [wenti xiaoshuo], dealing with social injustice, family conflicts and feminism, stirred considerable debate among literary critics. Her unique style,...

  10. 6 From Enlightenment to Sinology: Early European Suggestions on How to Learn Chinese, 1770-1840
    (pp. 71-92)
    Georg Lehner

    Up until the early nineteenth century, there were practically no scholars in Europe who were known to be devoting most of their time and energy to the study of the Chinese language. However, European scholars engaged in the study and teaching of Near Eastern languages, a field with deeper roots in Europe, sometimes took an interest in the Chinese language as well. These men had to draw information on the Chinese language from various manuscript sources available in major European repositories of knowledge.¹ Apart from the books published by Theophil Siegfried Bayer (1694-1738) and Étienne Fourmont (1683-1745), there were no...

  11. 7 Chinese Avant-garde Theater: New Trends in Chinese Experimental Drama near the Close of the Twentieth Century
    (pp. 93-114)
    Izabella Łabędzka

    Near the end of the 1970s, a spirit of experimentation began to flourish in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), slowly at first, but gaining momentum and purpose with the passage of time. It permeated literature – especially poetry – along with painting, sculpture, film and theater, but it also influenced everyday life, affecting people’s lifestyles and morals. This experimental spirit generated some of the most interesting and perhaps most valuable phenomena in China’s cultural heritage at the end of the twentieth century. The effects and influences of the spirit of experimentation can be seen in a particular theater movement...

  12. 8 Malraux’s Hope: Allegory and the Voices of Silence
    (pp. 115-128)
    William D. Melaney

    André Malraux’s novel,La Condition humaine[Man’s Fate], evokes broadly Hegelian expectations concerning the possibility of political action and the dialectical resolution of long-term conflicts. However, this same novel also frustrates these same expectations when it articulates matters of style, art and politics in a Chinese setting. The “world” of the novel is not defined in terms of a unified native tradition, but its international features are historically revealing and socially significant. Moreover, the cultural subtext that underlies the novel’s plot constitutes an index for determining the nature of socio-cultural praxis under difficult conditions.

    Hence, Malraux’s novel can be shown...

  13. 9 Reception, Reappropriation, and Reinvention: Chinese Vernacular Fiction and Elite Women’s Reading Practices in Late Chosŏn Korea
    (pp. 129-148)
    Sohyeon Park

    In her article “Female Virtues in Chosŏn Korea,” Martina Deuchler defines Chosŏn elite (yangban) women as “Confucian women” who contributed to the perpetuation of the Confucian system well into the twentieth century (Deuchler 2003: 165). Such remarks aptly sum up the persistence of the Confucian indoctrination of Korean women during the Chosŏn period (1372-1910).

    Since at least the fifteenth century, Korean women’s education had been regulated by the Chosŏn government, which was convinced that women’s moral education was vital to the social transmission of Confucian norms and values, as well as to the perpetual maintenance of Confucian dominance in state...

  14. 10 Some Women Writers and their Works in Classical Sanskrit Literature: A Reinterpretation
    (pp. 149-160)
    Supriya Banik Pal

    Leading male poets in the Sanskrit literary tradition have garnered much attention from the scholarly world in the form of analysis and interpretation of their poetry. This chapter focuses instead on poetry by women writers in the Sanskrit tradition, and aims to demonstrate the importance and creativity of these poetesses.¹ The most famous of these female Sanskrit poets range from as early as the ninth century of the Common Era (CE) to as late as the fourteenth century.²

    Going back before the Common Era to the early dawn of Vedic Sanskrit literature, female seers figured prominently. For instance, in the...

  15. About the Contributors
    (pp. 161-162)
  16. Index
    (pp. 163-168)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 169-171)