Folding Beijing

One of the primary sources I assigned for my History of East Asia class this semester was “Folding Beijing” a Chinese science fiction story by Hao Jingfang (translated by Ken Liu.) The story is set in a Beijing of the future, where the city folds up to allow it to be occupied by different groups […]

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Li Bai and the whale

One of the books I will be using in class this Fall is Sanyan Stories by Feng Menglong. In class we will be using the much condensed version from University of Washington Press, but students will also have the option dipping into the full 3- volume edition for their projects. Feng Menglong (1574-1646) was a […]

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Zhuangzi’s brain

I have been reading Wilt Idema The Resurrected Skeleton: From Zhuangzi to Lu Xun.  The book is a translation of various versions of the story of Zhuangzi and the skull, ranging from the original text to Lu Xun. Idema has been collecting these stories for a long time, and this is the only English language […]

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Early Medieval China

Just for fun I have been reading Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook.1 It is a very good book, written by a collection of the superheros of the field. The advertising blurb from Columbia calls it “innovative” and it indeed is. Normally a sourcebook is a collection of primary sources aimed, mostly, at undergraduates. This book […]

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Rustic poetry

The contrast between the center and the periphery is a common theme in Chinese literature. To be an official sent from the capital to the provinces, or a sent-down youth sent from Beijing to a village in the Northeast is a great inspiration for art. A very fine example of this comes from, Pricne Dan, […]

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The Will of a Traitor

There is a lot of treason to be found in the vicinity of LOC number DS777.5195.W34 in the Harvard-Yenching library. It’s Wang Jingwei (汪精衛) territory, infamous puppet lord of wartime occupied China, and reviled former patriot turned running dog of Japanese imperialism. He is also known as Wang Zhaoming (汪兆銘 Wang Chao-ming), Wang Jingwei being […]

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Ueda Akinari translation

PMJS has published William Clarke and Wendy Cobcroft’s annotated translation of Ueda Akinari’s Tandai Shoshinroku, available as a free PDF and also as a book-on-demand from Lulu (and eventually Amazon). I leave the commentary on the value of scholarly networks, non-profit online publishing, and the finally-growing body Early Modern translations as an exercise for our […]

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