Although an impressive amount of scholarship on Hong Kong cinema has been published in the last two decades, crime film as a genre has mostly evaded critical attention. Narrated in a keen, persuasive scholarly voice, Kristof Van den Troost’s Hong Kong Crime Film fills this gap by establishing the general lines of this important Hong Kong genre since its early inception in the 1940s. At the heart of this genre-oriented approach lies the author’s fundamental mistrust of the predominant academic practice in Hong Kong cultural studies, one that privileges the importance of 1997 and its impact on local identities. The single-mindedness of this approach often prompts scholars to find political corollaries in given film productions. Granted that no film can be truly independent of ideology and the dominant mechanism of socio-economic productions, the challenge here is to avoid overreaching, a mission the author suggests many have failed in various degrees. Common problems include “treating a film (or a select group of films) as a direct representation of society” and “singling out one film for a political analysis.” As a result, studies on Hong Kong cinema have become “more [focused] on ‘Hong Kong’ than on its cinema,” with many significant aspects of Hong Kong cinema, including the historical study of genres, remaining virtually unexplored.
MCLC has posted Nick Admussen’s review of Gloria Bien’s Baudelaire in China: A Study in Literary Reception. Here’s how it begins:
As Chinese intellectuals of the May Fourth era were making a concerted effort to learn foreign languages and engage with foreign literature, the work of Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was also beginning to garner belated acclaim in and out of France. A poet, essayist, and translator best known for his collections Les Fleurs du mal and Petits Poèmes en prose, Baudelaire was an aesthetic, formal, and conceptual innovator, and poets and critics of many nations still work to understand and react to his legacy. In China, the broad and sustained circulation of Baudelaire’s poetry is visible in the many versions of his Chinese name: in her Appendix I, Gloria Bien lists forty variants spanning almost a century, from the first translators of Baudelaire’s poetry into Chinese (including Zhou Zuoren 周作人) to those found in Zhang Daming’s (张大明) 2007 work A Hundred Years of Chinese Symbolism (中国象征主义百年史). Baudelaire’s work has passed through the hands of China’s greatest writers and thinkers and makes up a persistently relevant part of the tradition of modern Chinese poetry. The works and authors that intersect with Baudelaire’s poetry, moreover, are particularly diverse, and the impact of Baudelaire’s work on Chinese writing is fundamentally multivalent. For nearly a hundred years, writers of conflicting ideologies, competing schools, and disparate methods have transformed and been transformed by Baudelaire’s work with a complexity that makes the accumulation and categorization of data—to say nothing of interpretation—a substantial task.
Sebastian Veg’s review essay of City at the End of Time: Poems by Leung Ping-Kwan 梁秉鈞 (edited by Esther Cheung) and Dung Kai-cheung’s 董啟章 Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City (translated by the author with Bonnie McDougall and Anders Hansson), titled “Putting Hong Kong’s New Cultural Activism on the Literary Map,” has been published by the MCLC. Here’s how it ends:
the images of Hong Kong that emerge from these two collections are similar: far from the Cantonese patriotism of kung-fu films or the proudly apolitical but hugely successful taipans and tycoons of the business world, here the everyday experience and the successive reinventions of a many-layered postcolonial history are what define a new sense of belonging to Hong Kong. Both writers engage in soul-searching about the marginal position of the city, about investing with meaning a place that is not and does not aspire to become a nation-state, a place that identifies with aspects of Chinese culture but that has always cultivated its distinct “southern” difference. In these and other ways, these two writers are harbingers, not only of the emerging local sensibility that is beginning to find its translation into social movements and debates, but also of a new way of thinking about the relation between national and cultural identity, about colonial memories and postcolonial nostalgia that questions many of our assumptions about the position of the contemporary writer.
Fragrance and Anger in Milton’s Paradise Lost /1
On Gu Cheng: Rise and Fall of a Fairy Tale /13
Sense and Sensibility: Understanding Hughes through Cave Birds / 25
Positioning Brecht’s China in Western Intellectual Tradition /35
Emotion, the Enduring Content in Creeley’s Poems /57
Incredible Style /79
Editorial Memoir: A Promise /121
Some Notes on EPSIANS /125
Other English versions of some of these poems are accessible on the internet … Various readers may prefer various translations of various poems, but Lingenfelter’s volume provides an added plus in that she worked directly with Zhai. The reader has the benefit, not only of Lingenfelter’s bilingual skills, but of being invited to share a long, ongoing conversation that took place in life as well as on the page. In Lingenfelter’s words: “I could not have completed this project without the gracious help and encouragement of Zhai Yongming herself, who has shown me around Chengdu … taking me to (historic) sites … all the while placing everything we were looking at in a larger context. She has also treated me to many memorably wonderful meals … .” Translation is, after all, a matter of the tongue, and, ultimately, nourishment.
Dissertation Reviews has posted Brian Skerratt‘s review of my dissertation, Foreign Echoes and Discerning the Soil: Dual Translation, Historiography, and World Literature in Chinese Poetry. Here’s how it begins:
Lucas Klein’s dissertation, Foreign Echoes and Discerning the Soil: Dual Translation, Historiography, and World Literature in Chinese Poetry, is notable both for its ambition and its erudition. In seeking to answer how the “Chineseness” of Chinese poetry, its quality of being or seeming natively Chinese, is produced in and through acts of translation, Klein not only tackles Modernist-inspired poetry from the twentieth century, where “Chineseness” is a salient issue, but also the monolith of the Chinese literary tradition itself, including such ultra-canonical figures as Wang Wei 王維 (692-761) and Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770). In practical terms, this impressive breadth of scope results in a dissertation in two parts: the first featuring studies of modern poet Bian Zhilin 卞之琳 (1910-2000) and contemporary poet Yang Lian 楊煉 (b. 1955), and the second reaching back to Tang Dynasty masters Wang Wei, Du Fu, and Li Shangyin 李商隱 (813-858). By avoiding the urge to arrange his chapters chronologically ― or, at least, by putting the modern before the pre-modern ― Klein refuses to allow “traditional China” or its poetic stand-in, Tang regulated verse, their place as the seat of pure Chineseness, untarnished by contact with the modern West; in fact, one of his goals is to situate the Tang Dynasty back into a global network of cultural interaction and exchange. The arrangement of chapters further serves to illustrate Klein’s methodology, which is to allow the insights of deconstruction, Marxist thought, translation studies, and contemporary avant-garde poetics to illuminate the distant past ― and vice-versa. Klein’s dissertation serves the larger goal of deconstructing the binaries tradition/modernity, native/foreign, textual analysis/high theory, and, most centrally, original/translation.
from the 3% blog:
For whatever reason, PEN World Voices doesn’t have this event listed on their event calendar (at least not clearly), so let this post serve as the official announcement of the event, and a personal invitation from me to all of you to come out, celebrate the winners, and get drunk in the street.
First, the specifics: The Best Translated Book Award Ceremony will take place at 5:30 at the Washington Mews. For those who haven’t been there, this is a private gated street just north of Washington Square Park between Fifth Ave. and University Place. It is here.
This event is part of The Literary Mews, a new component to the PEN World Voices Festival that was organized by the amazing people at CLMP.
PEN reimagines the New York City street festival as an open air indie book fair. Nestled among the cobblestone streets of NYU’s storied Washington Mews, this day-long “festival within the Festival” will feature writers’ workshops in the morning and readings in the afternoon. Browse the tables where literary magazines and independent presses proffer the work of up-and-coming writers, wander the streets and cross borders as the doors to NYU’s International Houses are opened, or stop to take in busking musicians or a puppet show. Together with Le Pain Quotidien, the Mini-Fair will remind you that literature is our daily bread. A must-attend for any lover of literature.
The full [sic] list of events taking place as part of this can be found here.
Our event will take place as part of the Outdoor Indie Book Fair and will start with a discussion between me, Esther Allen, and Jill McCoy about spreading the love for literature in translation and, more specifically, the Finnegan’s List. After that, two representatives from the BTBA poetry and fiction committees will announce this year’s winners.
I have no idea who won and will be in the dark until that exact moment, so that. If I have time, I’ll post some crazy odds for the winners tomorrow morning and give you my irrational reasons why the books will or won’t win.
Following this announcement, I believe there is supposed to be a party in the street thanks to the Germans and the French. So please come down to this. Indie presses will be hawking their wares from noon onwards, which is worth checking out on its own.
So, I’ll see you Friday, right? RIGHT?
Click to download the free e-book.