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Children’s Literature

Designed to serve as an access point to children’s literature for researchers, librarians, teachers, parents, & young people, this single-volume guide covers reference materials published between 1985 & the present. The major portion of the work is a bibliography of bibliographies. Cited sources include references to recommended children’s books (fiction & nonfiction, in print & nonprint formats); read-aloud books; picture books; multicultural books; books relevant to children with special needs & talents; books for reluctant readers; & more. Indexes cover such various literary genres for children as plays, poetry, fantasy, folklore, songs, & biographies. In addition to the bibliographic entries, there are biographies of authors & illustrators & Internet access points (using listservs, the World Wide Web, & other networking programs).

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Fictionality and Reality in Narrative Discourse

This dissertation is an attempt to define a Chinese “modernism,” exemplified by the narrative practices of four major writers in Taiwan today, from the perspective of comparative literature and recent development of literary theory. I propose that modernity of Taiwanese fiction is not so much a result of Western influences as an evolution of Chinese narrative tradition itself. To argue my point I delineate a poetics of Chinese narrative, from which I devise a method of reading and a criterion of evaluation for contemporary Taiwanese fiction in defining its achievement and historical significance. This study of Taiwanese fiction also aims at providing a better understanding of fundamental aesthetic assumptions of Western “modernism” in the context of its own literary tradition. Chapter One, “Introduction,” investigates the theoretical foundation and its line of development in Western and Chinese poetics respectively. It first examines the Platonic view of mimesis and Aristotelian aesthetic view of fictionality and their influence on the critical tradition, the continuity of the ancient battle between philosophy and poetry as seen in the structuralist and deconstructionist theories, then the relationship between subjective fictionality and ironic objectivity in Chinese poetics, the continuity of the dilemma in the Chinese novelists in their dual allegiance to the ideal and the real. A final section gives a critical overview of the literary scene in Taiwan. The following four chapters provide examples of the internal tension between fictionality and ironic awareness in the Taiwanese modernist texts. I suggest that instead of stretching the metaphorical potential of fiction to a highly intellectualized abstraction or playing down the interpretive claims of fiction by dramatizing its vulnerability like their Western counterpart, the Taiwanese modernists create their texts on the borderline between the high and the low. Self-assertive as well as self-denying, each of them confronts his own intellectual vision with paradox and ambivalence. In Ch’en Ying-chen, this is expressed as a battle between a lyrical vision of ideological values and an instinctive self-clowning, in Ch’i-teng Sheng, as a form of competition between pattern and contingency, in Wang Chen-ho, as a celebration and abuse of the fictionality of fiction, and in Wang Wen-hsing, an intense self-parody. I conclude that the sensitivity to the irrational and contradiction, inherent with a resistance to didacticism, constitutes the best part of the Chinese humanistic tradition, which is continuously enriched with new dimensions by the contemporary Taiwanese writers.

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The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature

This extraordinary one-volume guide to the modern literatures of China, Japan, and Korea is the definitive reference work on the subject in the English language. With more than one hundred articles that show how a host of authors and literary movements have contributed to the general literary development of their respective countries, this companion is an essential starting point for the study of East Asian literatures. Comprehensive thematic essays introduce each geographical section with historical overviews and surveys of persistent themes in the literature examined, including nationalism, gender, family relations, and sexuality.

Following the thematic essays are the individual entries: over forty for China, over fifty for Japan, and almost thirty for Korea, featuring everything from detailed analyses of the works of Tanizaki Jun’ichiro and Murakami Haruki, to far-ranging explorations of avant-garde fiction in China and postwar novels in Korea. Arrayed chronologically, each entry is self-contained, though extensive cross-referencing affords readers the opportunity to gain a more synoptic view of the work, author, or movement. The unrivaled opportunities for comparative analysis alone make this unique companion an indispensable reference for anyone interested in the burgeoning field of Asian literature.

Although the literatures of China, Japan, and Korea are each allotted separate sections, the editors constantly kept an eye open to those writers, works, and movements that transcend national boundaries. This includes, for example, Chinese authors who lived and wrote in Japan; Japanese authors who wrote in classical Chinese; and Korean authors who write in Japanese, whether under the colonial occupation or because they are resident in Japan. The waves of modernization can be seen as reaching each of these countries in a staggered fashion, with eddies and back-flows between them then complicating the picture further. This volume provides a vivid sense of this dynamic interplay.