Member book, Iwasaki, Remaking the Modern Chinese Canon: Refractions across the Transpacific

Clara Iwasaki's picture

My book, Rethinking the Modern Chinese Canon, was published by Cambria in 2020. ISBN 9781621965473, 244 p.


For more information:

In Rethinking the Modern Chinese Canon, I read four canonical Chinese writers in relation to their translations, interpellations, and interpretations in different languages, revealing them to be more worldly than previously supposed. Texts, writers, and characters appear in different languages, sometimes taking markedly different forms. Authors translate and translators become authors. When individual texts are read in the context of their language or country of origin, these valences of meaning become lost. It is in reading clusters of texts together that these hidden relationship to other writers, other languages, and other texts become visible. To this end, I look at four writers, Xiao Hong, Yu Dafu, Lao She, and Zhang Ailing, through what she calls refractive relations. Following transpacific circuits, these writers and texts move not simply from periphery to center, or from obscurity to canon, but back and forth between literary, linguistic, and national communities. Many literary encounters today have their origin in meetings of authors and texts decades earlier. Rather than focusing on a single text, this book focuses on the relationship between the different works and how these texts acquire meaning when read in relation to each other.

This book would be of interest for people with an interest in Asian studies, Asian American studies, American literature, history, translation studies, and comparative literature.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: No Heroes, No Villains

Chapter 1. Second Chances: Xiao Hong, Helen Foster Snow, Upton Sinclair, and Agnes Smedley

Chapter 2. Yu Dafu is Dead, Long Live Yu Dafu: Chinese, Malaysian, and Japanese Corpus Fetishism and the Limits of Retrieval

Chapter 3. Pieces of a Broken Mirror: Lao She, Helena Kuo, Ma Xiaomi, and The Drum Singers

Chapter 4. “In My End is My Beginning”: Zhang Ailing’s Parasitic Autobiographical Novels

Conclusion: In Praise of Messiness

Categories: New Publication