Happy New Year! Usher in 2013 with a Nobel Prize Winner!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The 2013 MLA annual convention in Boston promises to be an especially exciting one because Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Gao Xingjian will be attending!

Many new titles for Cambria Press will be showcased, including Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian’s long-awaited book Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation. There are two MLA sessions being held for Gao Xingjian:

1)     Gao Xingjian on Literature and Theater on Friday, 4 January, 3:30–5:15 p.m., 202, Hynes

2)     A Creative Conversation with Gao Xingjian on Saturday, 5 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 206, Hynes

These sessions are rare opportunities that scholars (not only of Chinese literature) should not miss because these forums will illuminate how his work––lauded by the Nobel Prize committee “for an œuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama”––transcends linguistic, cultural, and genre borders.

Gao Xingjian Book Signing Session! Gao Xingjian will be signing copies of Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation on Friday, 4 January, from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. at the Cambria Press booth (#316) in the book exhibit hall. It is advisable to purchase your copy before the book-signing session. The Cambria Press booth will begin selling copies as early as 9 a.m. on Friday. A special MLA discounted rate will also be provided for early purchases. There are a limited number of copies, so please get to the Cambria Press booth as soon as possible so as not to miss this rare opportunity of having your book signed by a Nobel Prize winner!

Gao Xingjian:  Aesthetics and Creation

There is also a special Facebook promotion so that even those who are not attending the MLA annual convention will have an opportunity to get a signed copy of this new book. Like Cambria Press on Facebook AND share this post publicly on Facebook, and you will automatically entered into a drawing for a free, signed copy of the book. The book will be shipped free of charge to your address too!

Another important new book making its debut is A Study of Two Classics: A Cultural Critique of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin by Liu Zaifu (translated by Shu Yunzhong).

A Study of Two Classics:  A Cultural Critique of <i>The Romance of the Three Kingdoms</i> and <i>The Water Margin</i>This is the first book that focuses exclusively on the cultural values of these two Chinese classics––it is not a work of literary criticism in the conventional sense but rather a much-needed cultural/ideological critique. In this book, Liu Zaifu examines how traditional commentators like Jin Shengtan and Li Zhi promoted the cultural values embedded in the two classics and how these harmful values are received and reinforced in contemporary China. He draws inspiration from May Fourth intellectuals, particularly Lu Xun, and from a wide range of works by Western scholars. For instance, he uses Oswald Spengler’s notion of “pseudomorphosis” to explain the degeneration and falsification of certain values in Chinese culture. As he engages in cultural comparison either implicitly or explicitly he also asks questions about modernity and modernization. Liu’s style is essayistic, which allows him to bring both erudition and personal observation into play. Originally written for a Chinese audience, this highly anticipated translated work will help English-speaking readers understand the issues a leading contemporary Chinese critic tries to address.

Gao Xingjian’s and Liu Zaifu’s significant contributions to the literary world and the distinctive nature of their work are best summed up in this article by Dr. Mabel Lee published in Asian and African Studies:

“[T]alented young academics such as Liu Kang, Xiaobing Tang and others have mastered Western theories and have emerged in Western cultural studies circles, armed with the empirical evidence provided by their knowledge of the Chinese literary scene to adequately substantiate their paradigmatic claims. Many of their perceptions are keen and incisive, but they unavoidably adopt the aggressive, militant stance symptomatic of cultural studies. This paradigmatic trap is missing in the writings of … Gao Xingjian and Liu Zaifu.”

Both Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation and A Study of Two Classics: A Cultural Critique of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin are in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Professor Victor H. Mair, whose insightful studies of the Chinese literary world and beyond are considered to be among the world’s most important scholarly contributions. Professor Victor Mair will be participating in a special MLA session, Critical Debates in Sinophone Postcolonial Studies: Where Do We Go Now?, that will take place on Thursday, 3 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 207, Hynes. Presiding over the session is Professor Shu-mei Shih (UCLA) who is on the editorial board of the Cambria Sinophone World Series and widely credited for coining the term Sinophone.

Rethinking Chineseness:  Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World Given the session, it is thus also timely that the third new book in the Cambria Sinophone World Series that has also been published just in time for the MLA annual convention is Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary Worldby Professor E. K. Tan.  Professor David Wang (Harvard University) best sums up the book as follows: “E. K. Tan has done magnificent work in rethinking literary and cultural politics in the context of Sinophone articulations. In Rethinking Chineseness he looks into sources drawn from the Sinophone communities in Southeast Asia, identifies indigenous and diasporic contestations, and teases out the radical elements in the contemporary debate about Chinese identities. Both historically engaged and theoretically provocative, Tan’s book is a most important source for anyone interested in Chinese and Sinophone literary and cultural studies.”

Browse these newly published titles at the Cambria Press booth (#316) and see other Cambria Press titles that have received rave journal reviews, some of which are featured in other series, such as

The Films of Ousmane Sembène: Discourse, Culture, and PoliticsAnother new book that was published in time for the African Studies Association (ASA) annual conference that just took place in November is The Films of Ousmane Sembène: Discourse, Culture, and Politics, which is in the Cambria Studies in Contemporary Global Performing Arts series, headed by Professor John Clum (Duke University), who also has a forthcoming book Gay Drama Now.

Gay Drama Now

A 30% discount is being offered on these titles until February 15. Libraries are eligible for this discount too. Please download the MLA 2013 Promotional Book List and forward this on your librarians so they can enjoy the discount too. Hard copies of this list will also be available at the Cambria Press booth.

To commemorate having Gao Xingjian at the MLA convention, Cambria Press has commissioned a special tote bag for the occasion. A limited number of complimentary tote bags will be made available to MLA attendees, so please come to the Cambria Press booth as soon as possible to get yours.

Cambria Press Victor Mair Gao Xingjian Bag

If you have a book proposal, we would love to hear about it. Please come to the booth to discuss it with us. If you should miss us for some reason, please feel free to e-mail us  directly or complete our online proposal form.

We look forward to seeing you at the MLA annual convention and wish you all the best for 2013!

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