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The Chinese View Of Katherine Mansfield

For almost eighty years, Katherine Mansfield has been popular with Chinese readers, and she has had a significant influence on a number of Chinese short-story writers. It is unusual for a Western writer to have such an enduring impact. However little has been known of this in the West until now, with the publication of A Fine Pen: The Chinese View of Katherine Mansfield, by Shifen Gong.

Dr Gong, who has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Auckland, has selected and introduced twenty critical texts, and translated them into English for the first time. Together they bring fresh insights to the largely Eurocentric criticism of Mansfield's work, and at the same time provide a commentary on Chinese literary history.

Many of the texts, which were written between 1923-1991, are by translators. The earliest piece is by a young student, Xu Zhimo, who wrote reverently of his meeting with Mansfield in London as 'twenty immortal minutes'.

The story of the rises and falls in Mansfield's popularity is fascinating, as it shifts with the major social, political and literary trends which have given rise to modern China and its literature. Two distinct periods emerge: the 1920s and '30s, before the war and Japanese occupation, and the 1980s and early '90s, when the grip of the cultural revolution had relaxed.

Mansfield's portayal of social classes and the injustices of bourgeois society had obvious appeal to the Chinese. One of the translators, Tang Baoxin, writes: 'With remorseless irony she lays bare the hypocrisy and shallowness of the leisured class and their men of lettersŠ'

A Fine Pen also includes notes on the texts and a bibliography of Chinese translations and criticism of Mansfield's work from 1923-1991. The book provides many insights into the reception of Western literature by Chinese readers as well as being a significant contribution to Mansfield studies.


Contents: 1 Introduction 2 Selected Commentaries on Mansfield (translations of 20 texts by Chinese critics) 3 Katherine Mansfield in China (1923-1991): A Bibliography of Chinese Translations and Criticism

Contributors: NZ Research Centre at Shanghai International Studies University (1991), Ren Rongzhen (1988), Chen Jianing (1988), Xiao Qian (1988, 1987), Wen Jieruo (1986, 1985), Feng Zongpu (1984), Fang Ping (1983), Tang Baoxin (1982), Tang Yuncong (1957), Zhao Jingshen (1930, 1927), Xi Ying (1929), Ye Gongchao (1928), Xu Zhimo (1925, 1923), Xi Ying (1923)

About the Author/Translator Dr Shifen Gong taught university English in China before arriving in New Zealand in the mid-1980s. She studied comparative literature at the University of Auckland, receiving her Ph.D. in 1994. With a sound knowledge of Chinese and English-speaking societies and cultures, and with many years of experience in teaching, researching and writing in both languages, she has published books, essays and translations in China, New Zealand, US, Britain, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Dr Gong currently resides in Kentucky, USA, teaching Chinese at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University. Contact the editor: Shifen Gong, Tel 001 502 778 1239 (USA)

A Fine Pen The Chinese View of Katherine Mansfield Shifen Gong paperback, 176 pages ISBN 1 877276 04 9 Published May 2001 $39.95

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