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Asian Literature

14 Item(s)

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  1. A Tale of Two Melons

    Sarah Schneewind

    A Tale of Two Melons

    "Undergraduates will join specialists in enjoying this feast of melons. Schneewind's marvelous little book is at once a primer in some key aspects of China's traditional civilization and history, as well as a case study of an obscurely understood event that took place in 1372, in the reign of Taizu, founder of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). When two melons share a single stalk, and a local grower presents the anomaly to the emperor, the symbolism, the intentions of the giver, the reaction of the recipient, and the meaning of the whole act to observers and later commentators turn out to be anything but straightforward. Divergent interpretations began immediately, and continue to the present day."
         —John Dardess,  University of Kansas

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    Edited and Translated, with an Introduction, by Wilt L. Idema
    and Stephen H. West

    Battles, Betrayals, and Brotherhood

     "Battles, Betrayals, and Brotherhood is a brilliant introduction to one of China’s best-loved heroic traditions. And of course the translations are wonderful—very lively!"
         —Katherine Carlitz, University of Pittsburgh

  3. Butterfly Mother

    Translated by Mark Bender
    Based on a Version Compiled by Jin Dan and Ma Xueliang

    Butterfly Mother

    "Talk about 'persistent cultures'—this translation of the great epic, mythic tellings of the Miao/Hmong peoples is a window into a huge ancient soul of sustainable spirit and practice. Mark Bender's commentary provides context and details of places and singers that makes it even richer. This book provides new insights into how deeply oral recitation and performance can be embedded in a whole society, and some fresh, stunning stories."
         —Gary Snyder, author of Mountains and Rivers Without End

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    Edited and Translated, with an Introduction, by Wilt L. Idema

    Filial Piety and Its Divine Rewards

    Of the many ballads, tales, and plays extolling filial piety (xiao)—the foundational virtue of imperial China—none was more popular in that era than the legend of Dong Yong and his heavenly helpmate, Weaving Maiden. Continually revised and embellished over a millennium, the tale's popularity remains, finding new expression in Chinese film and opera in the twentieth century. The five versions of the legend presented here, alongside a selection of related texts, illustrate changing perceptions of xiao from the tenth century through the first part of the twentieth in a variety of genres. An appendix traces the development of the related legend of Weaving Maiden and Buffalo Boy from myth to folktale.

  5. Monks, Bandits, Lovers, and Immortals

    Edited and Translated, with Introduction, by Stephen H. West & Wilt L. Idema

    Monks, Bandits, Lovers, and Immortals

     "This magnificent collection of eleven early [1250–1450] Chinese plays will give readers a vivid sense of life and a clear understanding of dramatic literature during an extraordinarily eventful period in Chinese history. Not only are the eleven plays in this volume expertly translated into lively, idiomatic English; they are each provided with illuminating, scholarly introductions that are yet fully intelligible to the educated lay reader. A marvelous volume."
         —Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania

  6. Mulan

    Translated and Introduced by Shiamin Kwa & Wilt L. Idema

    Mulan

    This volume offers lively translations of the earliest recorded version of the legend and several later iterations of the tale (including the screenplay of the hugely successful 1939 Chinese film Mulan Joins the Army), illustrating the many ways that reinterpretations of this basic story reflect centuries of changes in Chinese cultural, political, and sexual attitudes.

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    Translated, with Introduction, by Philip J. Ivanhoe

    Readings from the Lu-Wang School of Neo-Confucianism

    This volume provides selected translations from the writings of Lu Xiangshan; Wang Yangming; and the Platform Sutra, a work which had profound influence on neo-Confucian thought. Each of these three sections is preceded by an introduction that sketches important features of the history, biography, and philosophy of the author and explores some of the main features and characteristics of his work. The range of genres represented—letters, recorded sayings, essays, meditations and poetry—provide the reader with insights into the philosophical and stylistic themes of this fascinating and influential branch of neo-Confucian thought.

  8. Records of the Three Kingdoms in Plain Language

    Translated, with Introduction and Annotations, by Wilt L. Idema and Stephen H. West

    Records of the Three Kingdoms in Plain Language

    "Idema and West have been collaborating on the production of scholarly works on, and translations of, Chinese vernacular literature for decades and their work has set a very high standard for scholarly value, accuracy, and readability. This is their second volume on popular treatments of the famous Three Kingdoms period, a fascinating age that has dominated as a topic both traditional Chinese fiction and drama. . . . Records of the Three Kingdoms in Plain Language . . . presents a comprehensive introduction to all of the main characters (Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Cao Cao, Zhou Yu, etc.) and events (the Oath in the Peach Garden, The Battle at the Red Cliff, The Single Sword Meeting, etc.) that are so well known in China and deserve to be even better known in the West."  —David Rolston, University of Michigan

  9. Six Records of a Life Adrift

    Shen Fu
    Translated, with Introduction and Notes, by Graham Sanders

    Six Records of a Life Adrift

    "Shen Fu’s Six Records of a Life Adrift is the most intimate document at our disposal of private life in late imperial China. Graham Sanders now provides us with a new translation for the 21st century, which is not only well researched but also highly readable."
          —Wilt Idema, Harvard University

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    Edited and Translated, with an Introduction, by Patrick Olivelle and Mark McClish

    The Arthaśāstra

    "The translations are the collaborative product of the two leading authorities today on the Arthaśāstra. . . . Their work is consistently, meticulously accurate throughout, yet written in the most straightforward and direct manner imaginable. The material prefatory to each translated section is, again, clear and accessible. . . . Complex matters are effectively distilled in plain language, and the key issues brought out. Superb on all counts. I have been awaiting such a volume for a long time."
         —Timothy Lubin, Washington and Lee University

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    Edited and Translated, with Introduction, by Wilt L. Idema

    The Butterfly Lovers

    “A judiciously chosen selection of the highlights of the famous Liang-Zhu story cycle with a particular focus on earlier and little-known redactions in a multiplicity of genres. Expertly translated with glosses on cultural items, this volume will prove a boon to the English reader with an interest in the riches of Chinese oral and vernacular culture. Scholars and students of Chinese literature and culture will value this volume for the insight it gives into the emergence and development of the story at key points in the tradition. Teachers of Chinese literature, history, and gender studies too will find much to draw inspiration from in the introduction, the translated stories and the background material presented in this book.”
         —CHINOPERL Papers

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    Daniel K. Gardner

    The Four Books: The Basic Teachings of the Later Confucian Tradition

    In this engaging volume, Daniel Gardner explains the way in which the Four Books—Great Learning, Analects, Mencius, and Maintaining Perfect Balance—have been read and understood by the Chinese since the twelfth century.  Selected passages in translation are accompanied by Gardner's comments, which incorporate selections from the commentary and interpretation of the renowned Neo-Confucian thinker, Zhu Xi (1130-1200).

  13. The Inner Chapters

    Chuang-Tzu
    Translated, with Commentary, by A. C. Graham

    The Inner Chapters

    "Graham’s study and translation of the Zhuangzi remains one of the most valuable and important sources for students of Zhuangzi’s thought. The Introduction is remarkably rich, and the combination of philological care and philosophical insight that Graham brings to the text make this the most philosophically revealing and productive translation available.”
         —Philip J. Ivanhoe, Boston University 

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    Edited and Translated, with an Introduction, by Wilt L. Idema

    The White Snake and Her Son

    "Both by introducing the legend in such artfully rendered translations and showing its evolution over time, Idema has opened an extraordinary window on traditional Chinese popular culture. In keeping with his record, Idema's scholarship is outstanding.  His ability to translate popular texts into comparably idiomatic English is an outstanding achievement. An extremely valuable text for teaching."
         —Hugh R. Clark, Ursinus College

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