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To make a global survey of the study of Chinese literature today would hardly be possible within the space of a single article; apart from the sheer amount of material to be covered and the linguistic competence required, it would be very difficult to discuss—in the same breath—works carried out in radically different social and cultural environments and under radically different assumptions about the nature and purpose of literary scholarship. This survey, therefore, will be limited to the study of Chinese literature in the Western world, which, however, is not to be understood in a strictly geographical sense but rather in a cultural-linguistic one. Thus, works written in or translated into a Western language, and with a predominantly “Western” orientation, may be included irrespective of the author's nationality or the place of publication—whereas works by Chinese, Japanese, Soviet, and Eastern European scholars in their own languages will not be discussed. It should also be made clear—obvious though it may be—that this survey, not being a bibliography, cannot be exhaustive; it can only concentrate on works that appear to represent significant trends. Failure to mention a work, therefore, does not necessarily imply lack of esteem, nor does mention of a work necessarily imply unreserved agreement. Chronologically, this survey will cover works completed since i960, as well as a few works in progress and planned works. Finally, we may venture to take a glance at future possibilities and problems.
This paper addresses the problematic birth of the Malayalam language of Kerala in medieval South India. I say “problematic” because, of course, languages are never really born. Indeed, the dominant tradition of language genesis in India long asserted that all languages there only gradually arose by degenerate mutation out of the primordially beginningless Sanskrit. If there is a general truth to be found here, it is that since there are no human communities without speech, novel forms of language must always be emergent from earlier forms. Language genesis is thus always a matter of linguistic differentiation, away from some standard and towards another. But the sustained contrivance of these particular claims for Sanskrit also reflects another linguistic truth: that languages and their constituent elements are routinely shaped, conditioned, and ideologically figured by being themselves made into objects of discourse. In terms of language differentiation, this means the continuum of transformations that may at some point coalesce into a claim for linguistic separateness is always modeled and monitored in and through language itself. The reflexive or metalinguistic nature of this process, however, is always contextually oriented to the social fields in which it operates, so that the ideological positions and interests in those fields tend to carry over into the discursive products of a language and its literature. This study will attempt to highlight the web of relations among language varieties, ideologies, social contexts, and identities, as documented in a treatise on the language of medieval Kerala when that region first raised its claims for a distinctive linguistic identity.
In September 1965, there occurred between the armies of India and Pakistan a fierce clash which each side attributed to the aggressive designs of the other. This undeclared war lasted only a short time; first a ceasefire ordered by the United Nations, and later the pact signed at Tashkent, brought the hostilities to a formal close. It was by no means a spontaneous or unexpected flareup, the hatred and antagonism that caused it had been festering for a long time. Similarly, its effects have not been short-lived; neither have they been restricted to the area of military logistics and high diplomacy. In this paper I intend to review the consequences of that conflict for Urdu language and literature. I shall proceed by showing why it was necessary for Urdu writers, especially the poets, to respond to this war, and what sort of attitudes were displayed in the poetry written exclusively in response to it. I shall then discuss certain subsequent developments in the general area of Urdu language and literature and end by presenting my own conclusions with regard to the future.
Translation is not only a science or an art, but also a practical tool of international communication in the world-wide exchange of ideas. The importance of translation has been heightened by the increasing contacts among nations of widely divergent cultures. In the Western world, translation is considered more frequently from the linguistic than the cultural point of view, for the West has a common pattern of culture underlying its linguistic variety. The problem of communication between the East and the West is more difficult in that there are not only language barriers but also divergent cultural patterns.
The translation of Western works into Chinese began near the end of the sixteenth century. Moved by religious enthusiasm, the Jesuits initiated the process and the Protestant missionaries followed. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, translation programs have been a characteristic part of Chinese governmental activity directed toward modernization and, consequently, both the subject matter translated and the languages from which they were translated indicate trends in modern Chinese thought as well as changing governmental policies. Moreover, the motivation of translation and the shifts in intellectual interests are reflected in the character and quantity of translations produced at different times.
In social and political discourse in contemporary Indonesia, the use of hadīth texts serves social and political as well as more narrowly religious ends. Among the purposes of the translation and exegesis of Arabic texts are the definition of an ideal Islamic society and indications of the ways Indonesia falls short of this ideal. In a narrow sense, contemporary translations are examples of what Bernard Lewis (1988:92) calls the “authoritarian and quietist” mode of Muslim political thought because they refrain from calling for an Islamic state. But in the context of Indonesian political culture they approach what he terms the “radical activist” mode, and seek to reshape society, if not the state, in the image of the Qur’ān and hadīth.
This article analyzes interactions among the early twentieth-century Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese literary worlds. The author first develops a general conceptualization of intra–East Asian literary contact nebulae. These were the ambiguous spaces, both physical and creative, where imperial Japanese, semicolonial Chinese, and colonial Korean and Taiwanese writers interacted with one another and transculturated (i.e., discussed, translated, and intertextualized) one another's writings. Among the most intriguing literary contact nebulae are Chinese and Korean transculturations of censored Japanese literature. The second half of the article explores two key examples of this phenomenon: colonial Korean translation and intertextualization of the Japanese writer Nakano Shigeharu's poem “Ame no furu Shinagawa eki” (Shinagawa Station in the Rain, February 1929) and wartime Chinese translation and intertextualization of the Japanese writer Ishikawa Tatsuzō's novella “Ikiteiru heitai” (Living Soldiers, March 1938). These transculturations embody multifaceted amalgams of (semi)colonial literary collaboration, acquiescence, and resistance vis-à-vis metropolitan imperial and cultural authority.