Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.Sort by title, author, format, publication date, or price » Sort by title, author, format, publication date, or price »
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.Sort by title, author, format, publication date, or price »
This is the first full-length critical study of a major period of Chinese poetry to appear in a Western language. The period is neither ancient China nor the medieval T’ang dynasty, source of the most numerous and familiar previous translations, but that of the Sung dynasty (960–1279), whose culture and thought were much more complex and “modern.”
W. Wayne Farris has developed the first systematic analysis of early Japanese population, the role of disease in economic development, and the impact of agricultural technology and practices. In doing so, he reinterprets the nature of ritsuryō institutions.
This is the most comprehensive study of pien-wen (“transformation texts” i.e., tales of metamorphosis) in any language since the manuscripts were discovered at the beginning of this century in a remote cave complex in northwest China. They are the earliest written vernacular narratives in China and are thus extremely important in the history of Chinese language and literature.
This dual-language compilation of seven complete major works and many shorter pieces from the Confucian period through the Ch’ing dynasty will be indispensable to students of Chinese literature as well as theorists and scholars of other languages.
Lurid depictions of sex and impotence, themes of emperor worship and violence, the use of realism and myth--these characterize the fiction of Mishima Yukio and Oe Kenzaburo. Napier discovers surprising similarities as well as provocative dissimilarities in the work of two writers of radically different political orientations. Napier places Yukio’s and Kenzaburo’s fiction in the context of postwar Japanese political and social realities and, in a new preface for the paperback edition, reflects on each writer’s position in the tradition of Japanese literature.
Lurid depictions of sex and impotence, themes of emperor worship and violence, the use of realism and myth--these characterize the fiction of Mishima Yukio and Oe Kenzaburo. Napier discovers surprising similarities as well as provocative dissimilarities in the work of two writers of radically different political orientations.
This important new study explores the impact of Neo-Confucianism on Korean society and politics between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries.
P’ansori, the traditional oral narrative of Korea, is sung by a highly trained soloist to the accompaniment of complex drumming. In the first book-length treatment in English of this art form, Pihl traces its history from roots in shamanism and folktales through its 19th-century heyday and discusses its evolution in the 20th century.
Timothy Brook studies three widely separated and economically dissimilar counties. He draws on rich data in monastic gazetteers to examine the patterns and social consequences of patronage.
Remembered today primarily as a poet, calligrapher, and critic, the protean Su Shi was an outspoken player in the contentious politics and intellectual debates of the Northern Song dynasty. In this comprehensive study, Ronald C. Egan analyzes Su’s literary and artistic work against the background of eleventh-century developments within Buddhist and Confucian thought and Su’s dogged disagreement with the New Policies of Wang Anshi.
Unlike traditional Japanese literature, which has a rich tradition of comedy, modern Japanese literature is commonly associated with a high seriousness of purpose. In this pathbreaking study, Joel Cohn analyzes works by three writers—Ibuse Masuji (1898–1993), Dazai Osamu (1909–1948), and Inoue Hisashi (1934– )—whose works constitute a relentless assault on the notion that comedy cannot be part of serious literature.
Richard Davis has expertly crafted a stirring narrative of the last years of Song, focusing on loyalist resistance to Mongol domination as more than just a political event. Seen from the perspective of the conquered, the phenomenon of martyrdom reveals much about the cultural history of the Song.
The realignment of the Chinese social order that took place over the course of the Sung dynasty set the pattern for Chinese society throughout most of the later imperial era. This study examines that realignment from the perspective of specific Sung families, using data on two groups of Sung elites—the grand councilors who led the bureaucracy and locally prominent gentlemen in Wu-chou (in modern Chekiang).
This book, the most detailed and comprehensive study of pao-chüan in any language, studies 34 early examples in order to understand the origins and development of this textual tradition. Although it focuses on content and structure, it also treats the social context of these works, as well as their transmission and ritual use.
During the Song dynasty (960-1278), some members of China’s elite found an elegant and subtle means of dissent: landscape painting. By examining literary archetypes, the titles of paintings, contemporary inscriptions, and the historical context, Alfreda Murck shows that certain paintings expressed strong political opinions--some transparent, others deliberately concealed. She argues that the capacity of painting’s systems of reference to allow scholars to express dissent with impunity contributed to the art’s vitality and longevity.
This volume analyzes the representation of gender and desire in elite, male-authored literary texts in China dating from roughly 200 B.C. until 1000 A.D.
In medieval Japanese literature, the practices of initiation ceremonies and secret transmissions found in esoteric Buddhism began to be incorporated into the teaching of waka poetry. The main figure in this development was 13th-century poet Fujiwara Tameaki, whose commentaries transformed secular texts into allegories of Buddhist enlightenment.
Based on an extensive study of Jianyang imprints, genealogies of the leading families of printers, local histories, documents, and annotated catalogs and bibliographies, Printing for Profit is not only a history of commercial printing but also a wide-ranging study of the culture of the book in traditional China.
By treating the issues of cosmology, sacrifice, and self-divinization in a historical and comparative framework that attends to the contemporary significance of specific arguments, Puett shows that the basic cosmological assumptions of ancient China were the subject of far more debate than is generally thought.
The goal of this volume is to consider the relationship of writing to materiality in China’s literary history and to ponder the physical aspects of the production and circulation of writing.
The 18th-century Chinese novel Rulin waishi (The Unofficial History of the Scholars), Wu Jingzi’s (1701–54) ironic portrait of literati life, challenges the reader to come to grips with the mid-Qing debates over ritual and ritualism, and the construction of history, narrative, and lyricism.
As traced in Words Well Put, the vision of poetic competence evolved for over a millennium from calculated performances of inherited words to sincere passionate outbursts to displays of verbal wit combining calculation with the appearance of spontaneity. This book tells the story of the development of poetic competence to uncover the complexity of the concept and to identify the sources and exemplars of that complexity.
As descendants of the great courtier-poets Fujiwara no Shunzei (1114–1204) and his son Teika (1162–1244), the heirs of the Reizei house can claim an unbroken literary lineage spanning over eight centuries. Carter combines family history, literary criticism, and historical research in a coherent narrative tracking the evolution of the Reizei Way.
Using an interdisciplinary approach drawing on the research of archaeologists, anthropologists, and religious, social, and art historians, this book seeks to recover the motivations behind the creation of religious art, including temple buildings, sculpture, and wall paintings.
The Liang dynasty (502–557) was among the most brilliant and creative periods in Chinese history and is among the most underestimated and misunderstood. This book contextualizes the literary culture of this era, exploring the literary works themselves, the processes of literary production, and the intricate interactions of religion and literature.
Since the mid-1980s, Taiwan and mainland China have witnessed a resurgence of academic and intellectual interest in ruxue—“Confucianism”—variously conceived as a form of culture, an ideology, a system of learning, and a tradition of normative values. This study shows how ruxue has been conceived in order to assess its achievements.
Liu Zhi (ca. 1670–1724) was one of the most important scholars of Islam in traditional China. His Tianfang xingli (Nature and Principle in Islam), the Chinese-language text translated here, focuses on the roots or principles of Islam. The copious annotations to the translation explain Liu’s text and draw attention to parallels in Chinese-, Arabic-, and Persian-language works as well as differences.
Liu Yuan’s Lingyan ge, a woodblock-printed book from 1669, re-creates a portrait gallery that memorialized 24 vassals of the early Tang court. This study examines the dialogues created among the texts and images in Lingyan ge from multiple perspectives.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Japan’s military and economic successes made it the dominant power in East Asia, drawing hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese students to the metropole and sending thousands of Japanese to other parts of East Asia. Drawing extensively on vernacular sources in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, this book analyzes the most active of these contact nebulae: semicolonial Chinese, occupied Manchurian, and colonial Korean and Taiwanese transculturations of Japanese literature.
Four themes dominate this study of the late Mongol empire in Northeast Asia: the need for an all-inclusive regional perspective; pan-Asian integration under the Mongols; the tendency for individual and family interests to trump those of dynasty, country, or linguistic affiliation; and the need to see Koryŏ Korea as part of the wider Mongol empire.
In the sixteenth century, European missionaries brought a foreign and global religion to China. Converts then transformed this new religion into a local one. Focusing on the still-active Catholic communities of Fuan county in northeast Fujian, this project’s implications extend beyond the issue of Christianity in China to the wider fields of religious and social history and the early modern history of global intercultural relations.
This study aims to engage the textual realities of medieval literature by shedding light on the material lives of poems during the Tang, from their initial oral or written instantiation through their often lengthy and twisted paths of circulation. Tang poems exist today in stable written forms assumed to reflect their creators’ original intent. Yet Tang poetic culture was based on hand-copied manuscripts and oral performance. We have almost no access to this poetry as it was experienced by contemporaries. But if we do not understand how Tang people composed, experienced, and transmitted poetry, we miss something fundamental about the roles of memory and copying in the circulation of poetry as well as readers’ dynamic participation in the creation of texts.
Emperor Taizong (r. 626–49) of the Tang is remembered as an exemplary ruler. This study addresses that aura of virtuous sovereignty and Taizong’s construction of a reputation for moral rulership through his own literary writings—with particular attention to his poetry. The author highlights the relationship between historiography and the literary and rhetorical strategies of sovereignty, contending that, for Taizong, and for the concept of sovereignty in general, politics is inextricable from cultural production.
Ancestral ritual in early China was an orchestrated dance between what was present (the offerings and the living) and what was absent (the ancestors). This study is a history of the early Chinese ancestral cult, particularly its cognitive aspects. Ancestor worship was not, the author contends, merely mechanical and thoughtless. Rather, it was an idea system that aroused serious debates about the nature of postmortem existence, served as the religious backbone to Confucianism, and may even have been the forerunner of Daoist and Buddhist meditation practices.
Sovereignty is based on control of territory. This book uses Song China to explain how a pre-industrial regime organized itself spatially in order to exercise authority. On more than a thousand occasions, the Song court founded, abolished, promoted, demoted, and reordered jurisdictions in an attempt to maximize the effectiveness of limited resources in a climate of shifting priorities, to placate competing constituencies, and to address military and economic crises.
The importance of the rich corpus of “Masters Literature” that developed in early China since the fifth century BCE has long been recognized. But just what are these texts? Scholars have often approached them as philosophy, but these writings have also been studied as literature, history, and anthropological, religious, and paleographic records. How should we translate these texts for our times? This book explores these questions through close readings of seven examples of Masters Literature and asks what proponents of a “Chinese philosophy” gained by creating a Chinese equivalent of philosophy and what we might gain by approaching these texts through other disciplines, questions, and concerns.
A discharged official in mid-Ming China faced significant changes in his life. This book explores three such officials in the sixteenth century—Wang Jiusi, Kang Hai, and Li Kaixian—who turned to literary endeavors when forced to retire. Instead of formal writing, however, they engaged in the stigmatized genre of qu (songs), a collective term for drama and sanqu. As their efforts reveal, a disappointing end to an official career and a physical move away from the center led to their embrace of qu and the pursuit of a marginalized literary genre. After their retirements, these three writers became cultural leaders in their native regions.
This study revolves around the poet Huang Tingjian (1045–1105), who wrote at the height of one of the most transformative periods in Chinese literary history, the Northern Song (960–1126). Wang examines how the emerging print culture of the period shaped the poetic theory and practice of Huang and the Jiangxi School of Poetry he founded.
In this first systematic study in English of the highly influential yet overlooked thinker Xue Xuan (1389–1464), author Khee Heong Koh seeks to redress Xue’s marginalization while showing how a study interested mainly in “ideas” can integrate social and intellectual history to offer a broader picture of history.
This book explores two important moments of dislocation in Chinese history, the early medieval period (317–589 CE) and the nineteenth century. Xiaofei Tian juxtaposes a rich array of materials from these two periods in comparative study, linking these historical moments in their unprecedented interactions, and intense fascination, with foreign cultures.
Examining the transnational film star system and the formations of historically important stars, Making Personas casts new light on Japanese modernity from the 1910s to 1930s. The book shows how film stardom began and evolved, looking at the production, representation, circulation, and reception of performers’ images in film and other media.
In Four Cries of a Gibbon by the late-Ming dynasty playwright Xu Wei, characters move between life and death, and male and female, as they seek to articulate who they truly are. In this first critical study and annotated translation, Shiamin Kwa considers how Wei’s exploration of identity paved the way for further reflection in later fiction and drama.
The earliest anthology of Chinese poetry, the Book of Poems has served as an ideal of literary perfection and also a major subject of literary criticism since imperial times. Bruce Rusk unravels the competitive, mutually influential relationship through which classical and literary scholarship on the poems co-evolved from the Han dynasty to the Qing.
China’s sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an unprecedented explosion in the production of woodblock-printed books. This volume considers what a wide range of late Ming books reveal about their readers’ ideas of a pleasurable private life, as well as their orientations toward early modernity and toward traditional Chinese sources of authority.
Courtesans, Concubines, and the Cult of Female Fidelity traces changing gender relations in China from the tenth to fourteenth centuries. By taking women—and men’s relationships with women—seriously, this book makes a case for the centrality of gender relations in the social, political, and intellectual life of the Song and Yuan dynasties.
A reference work from one of the world’s preeminent linguists, A Comprehensive Manchu–English Dictionary substantially enlarges and revises Jerry Norman’s 1978 Concise Manchu–English Lexicon. With hundreds of new entries and a new introduction on pronunciation and script, it will become the standard English-language resource on the Manchu language.
The dominant literary genre in Song dynasty China, shi poetry reflected profound changes occurring in Chinese culture from 960–1279. Michael A. Fuller traces the intertwining of shi poetry and Neo-Confucianism that led to the cultural synthesis of the last years of the Southern Song and set the pattern of Chinese society for the next six centuries.
David M. Robinson explores how grand displays like the royal hunt, archery contests, and the imperial menagerie were presented in literature and art in the early Ming dynasty. He argues these spectacles were highly contested sites where emperors and court ministers staked competing claims about rulership and the role of the military in the polity.
After the 1911 fall of the Qing dynasty, many declared the classical Chinese poetic tradition dead. In Modern Archaics, Shengqing Wu draws on extensive archival research into the poetry collections and literary journals of two generations of writers to challenge this claim and demonstrate the continuing significance of the classical form.
The rapid rise and fall of the southern kingdom of Wu inspired many memorials in the former capital city of Suzhou, including the building of temples, shrines, and monuments. Analyzing the history of Wu as recorded in ancient Chinese texts and literature, Olivia Milburn illuminates the cultural endurance of this powerful but short-lived kingdom.
An exception to the rule that the first-rank poets in premodern China were men, the woman poet Li Qingzhao (1084-1150s) occupies a crucial place in Chinese literature. Ronald C. Egan challenges conventional thinking about Li, examining how critics tried to accommodate her to cultural norms from late imperial times into the twentieth century.
K. E. Brashier examines practices of memorializing the dead in early imperial China. After surveying how learning in this period relied on memorization and recitation, he treats the parameters name, age, and kinship as ways of identifying a person in Han public memory, as well as the media responsible for preserving the deceased person’s identity.
Wai-yee Li examines the discursive space of women in seventeenth-century China. Using texts written by women or by men writing in a feminine voice, as well as writings that turn women into signifiers of lamentation or nostalgia, Li probes the emotional and psychological turmoil of the Ming–Qing transition and subsequent moments of national trauma.
Historians have long been perplexed by the complete disappearance of the medieval Chinese aristocracy by the tenth century—the “great clans” that had dominated China for centuries. Nicolas Tackett resolves the enigma of their disappearance using new, digital methodologies to analyze a dazzling array of sources.
Tamara T. Chin explores the politics of representation during the Han dynasty at a pivotal moment when China was asserting imperialist power on the Eurasian continent and expanding its local and long-distance (“Silk Road”) markets. Chin explains why rival political groups introduced new literary forms with which to represent these expanded markets.
Sarah M. Allen explores the tale literature of eighth- and ninth-century China to show how written tales of the Tang canon we know today grew out of a fluid culture of hearsay in elite society. The book focuses on two main types of tales, those based in gossip about recognizable public figures and those developed out of lore concerning the occult.
Friendships between writers of the mid-Tang era became famous through the many texts they wrote to and about one another. Anna M. Shields explores these texts to reveal the complex value the writers found in friendship—as a rewarding social practice, a rich literary topic, a way to negotiate literati identity, and a path toward self-understanding.
Through an exploration of contemporary Chinese popular religion from its cultural, social, and material perspectives, Wei-Ping Lin paints a broad picture of the dynamics of popular religion in Taiwan. Analyzing these aspects of religious practice in a unified framework, she traces their transformation as adherents move from villages to cities.
In Northern Song China, reform-minded statesmen sought to remove the tension between the Confucian Classics and statist ideals of “big government.” Jaeyoon Song illuminates the interplay between classics, thinkers, and government in statist reform, and explains why the uneasy marriage of classics and state activism had to fail in imperial China.
Ellen Widmer examines the writings of a literary family whose works embodied shifting attitudes toward women in late Qing China. She illuminates the diachronic bridge between the late Qing and the preceding period, the synchronic interplay of genres during the family’s lifetimes, and the interaction of Shanghai publishing with other regions.
Scholars have described the eighteenth century in China as a time of “state activism” and often associate the Taiping Rebellion and postbellum restoration efforts with the origins of elite activism. Seunghyun Han, however, argues that the ascendance of elite activism can be traced to the Jiaqing and Daoguang reigns in the early nineteenth century.
Celestial Masters is the first book in any Western language devoted solely to the founding of Daoism. It traces the movement from the mid-second century CE through the sixth century, and provides a detailed analysis of ritual life within the movement, covering the roles of common believer or Daoist citizen, novice, and priest or libationer.
Rebecca Doran offers a new understanding of major female figures of the Tang era—including Wu Zhao, Empress Wei, and Shangguan Wan’er—within their literary-historical contexts, and delves into critical questions about the relationship between Chinese historiography, reception-history, and the process of image-making and cultural construction.
Li Mengyang (1473–1530) was a scholar-official who initiated the literary archaist movement that sought to restore ancient styles of prose and poetry in sixteenth-century China. Chang Woei Ong situates Li’s quest to redefine literati learning as a way to build a perfect social order in the context of intellectual transitions since the Song dynasty.
Bannermen Tales is the first book in English to offer a comprehensive study of zidishu—a popular storytelling genre created by the Manchus in early eighteenth-century Beijing. With original translations, musical score, and numerous illustrations of hand-copied and printed texts, this study opens a new window into Qing literature.
Tracing journeys of Cantonese migrants along the West River and its tributaries, Steven B. Miles describes the circulation of people through one of the world’s great river systems between the late sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries.
Ancestors, Kings, and the Dao outlines the evolution of musical performance in early China, first within and then ultimately away from the socio-religious context of ancestor worship. The focus of this study is on excavated texts; it is the first to use both bronze and bamboo narratives to show the evolution of a single ritual practice.
The third century CE—the Jian’an era or Three Kingdoms—holds double significance for the Chinese cultural tradition. Its writings laid the foundation of classical poetry and literary criticism. Its historical personages and events also inspired works of art throughout Chinese history. Xiaofei Tian examines the interface of these two nostalgias.
The Qing Empire in the early nineteenth century faced bureaucratic corruption, food shortages, infrastructure decay, domestic rebellion, adverse balances of trade, and a previously inconceivable foreign threat from the West. William T. Rowe uses literati reformer Bao Shichen as a prism to understand contemporary response to this general crisis.
Building for Oil is a historical account of the oil town of Daqing in northeastern China during the formative years of the People’s Republic and describes Daqing’s rise and fall as a national model city. Hou Li traces the roots of the Chinese socialist state and its early industrialization and modernization policies.
Early medieval writers in China understood and manipulated a shared intellectual lexicon to produce meaning. Wendy Swartz explores how these writers developed a distinctive mosaic of ways to participate in their cultural heritage by weaving textual strands from a shared and expanding store of literary resources into new patterns and configurations.
Suyoung Son examines the widespread practice of self-publishing by writers in late imperial China, focusing on the relationships between manuscript tradition and print convention, peer patronage and popular fame, and gift exchange and commercial transactions in textual production and circulation.
Ya Zuo places Shen Gua (1031–1095) on the broad horizon of premodern Chinese thought, and presents his empiricism within an extensive narrative of Chinese epistemology. Her study provides insights into the complex dynamics in play at the dawn of Neo-Confucianism and urges readers toward a deeper appreciation of the diversity in Chinese thinking.
“Song Lyric,” ci, is one of the most loved forms of Chinese poetry, radically distinct from “Classical Poetry,” shi. Stephen Owen examines song lyric’s literary traditions, including its origins, major writers and collections, and development into a genre, while offering a new hypothesis on the relationship between song practice and written text.
In the first book focusing on premortem shrines in any era of Chinese history, Sarah Schneewind places the institution at the intersection of politics and religion. This legitimate, institutionalized political voice for commoners expands a scholarly understanding of “public opinion” in late imperial China, and illuminates Ming thought and politics.
The Mongol conquest of north China inflicted terrible destruction, wiping out more than one-third of the population and dismantling the existing social order. Jinping Wang recounts the riveting story of how northern Chinese people adapted to these trying circumstances and interacted with their conquerors to create a drastically new social order.
Drawing on a rich array of primary sources, Hsiao-t’i Li focuses on the reformed operas staged in Shanghai and Xi’an in the early 20th century. Extensive information on both traditional/imperial China and revolutionary/Communist China reveal simplications of these “modern” operatic experiences and changing features of Chinese operas over five centuries.
Through research into Daoist ritual in history and as it survives today, Andersen shows that the concept of truth in Chinese Daoist philosophy and ritual posits being as a paradox anchored in the inexistent Way, and consists in seeking to be an exception to ordinary norms and rules of behavior which nonetheless engages what is common to us all.
Feeling the Past in Seventeenth-Century China highlights the central role played by the body in writers’ memories during the Ming–Qing cataclysm. Sight, sound, taste, and touch configured ordinary experiences next to traumatic events. This embodied experience reveals literature’s mission of remembrance as a moral endeavor in cultural continuity.
Harvard University Press offices are located at 79 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA & Vernon House, 23 Sicilian Avenue, London WC1A 2QS UK