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Asian Literature

Asian Literature Book List

Finalist for the 2006 Harry J. Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies
Cover of 'Power Plays'

Power Plays
Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java
By Andrew N. Weintraub

Based on ethnographic fieldwork spanning twenty years, Power Plays is the first scholarly book in English on wayang golek, the Sundanese rod-puppet theater of West Java. It is a detailed and lively account of the ways in which performers of this major Asian theatrical form have engaged with political discourses in Indonesia. Wayang golek has shaped, as well, the technological and commercial conditions of art and performance in a modernizing society.

Short listed for the 2007 New South Wales Premier's Translation Prize
Cover of 'Secrets Need Words'

Secrets Need Words
Indonesian Poetry, 1966–1998
Edited by Harry Aveling
· Translation by Harry Aveling

The period from 1966 to 1999 represents a distinct era in Indonesian history. Throughout the “New Order” regime of President Suharto, the policies of economic development and political stability were dominant. However, the public opinion of personal expression was consistently under suspicion, and indeed dissent was severely punished. Secrets Need Words traces the development of Indonesian poetry throughout this entire period.

Cover of 'Language, Power, and Ideology in Brunei Darussalam'

Language, Power, and Ideology in Brunei Darussalam
By Geoffrey C. Gunn

Contrary to modern theories of developing nations, Brunei Darussalam, which has a very high rate of literacy, is also one of the few countries where the traditional elite retains absolute political power.

Cover of 'Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam'

Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam
Edited by Peter W. Martin, Conrad Ozóg, and Gloria Poedjosoedarmo

The oil-rich sultanate of Brunei Darussalam is located on the northern coast of Borneo between the two Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. Though the country is small in size and in population, the variety of language use there provides a veritable laboratory for linguists in the fields of Austronesian linguistics, bilingual studies, and sociolinguistic studies, particularly those dealing with language shift.

Cover of 'Dictionary of Indonesian Islam'

Dictionary of Indonesian Islam
By Howard M. Federspiel

Drawing from an extensive list of writings about Indonesian Islam that have appeared over the past fifteen years, Federspiel defines approximately 1,800 terms, phrases, historical figures, religious books, and place names that relate to Islam and gives their Arabic sources. This dictionary will be indispensable to English–speaking students and researchers working in Indonesian or Southeast Asian studies.

Cover of 'Beyond the Archipelago'

Beyond the Archipelago
Selected Poems
By Muhammad Haji Salleh

A collections of 70 poems from one of Malaya’s leading poets, that depict longing, loneliness, modernization, and insights in Malaysian culture.

Cover of 'Cage of Fireflies'

Cage of Fireflies
Modern Japanese Haiku
By Lucien Stryk

Haiku at its best is an art in which the poet takes a natural, most ordinary event, and without fuss, ornament or inflated words makes of it a rare moment—sparely rendered, crystallized into a microcosm which reveals transcendent unity. Small wonder haiku has a growing audience throughout the world.

Cover of 'Text/Politics in Island Southeast Asia'

Text/Politics in Island Southeast Asia
Essays in Interpretation
By David M. E. Roskies

How does the language of poetry conspire with the language of power? This question is at the heart of this volume which deals with Indonesia and the Philippines in the early modern and post-1945 periods. These two nations have been shaped by the forces of nationalism, revolution, and metropolitan hegemony. Whether written in Malay, Tagalog, English, or Dutch the writings coming from them carry the contradictions of their time and place in the milieu of race and class.

Cover of 'The  Tale of Prince Samuttakote'

The Tale of Prince Samuttakote
A Buddhist Epic from Thailand
By Thomas Hudak

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Thai poets produced epics depicting elaborate myths and legends which intermingled the human, natural, and supernatural worlds. One of the most famous of these classical compositions is the Samuttakhoot kham chan, presented here in English for the first time as The Tale of Prince Samuttakote.

Cover of 'The  Voice of the Night'

The Voice of the Night
Complete Poetry and Prose of Chairil Anwar
By Chairil Anwar
· Translation by Burton Raffel

Chairil Anway (1922–1949) was the primary architect of the Indonesian literary revolution in both poetry and prose. In a few intense years he forged almost ingle-handedly a vital, mature literary language in Bahasa Indonesia, a language which formally came to exist in 1928. Anway led the way for the many Indonesian writers who have emerged during the past fifty years. This volume contains all that has survived of Anwar’s writing.

Cover of 'Dumpling Field'

Dumpling Field
Haiku of Issa
Edited by Lucien Stryk and Noboru Fujiwara

Koyashi Issa (1763-1827), long considered amoung Japan’s four greatest haiku poets (along with Basho, Buson, and Shiki) is probably the best loved. This collection of more than 360 haiku, arranged seasonally and many rendered into English for the first time, attempts to reveal the full range of the poet’s extraordinary life as if it were concentrated within a year.

Cover of 'Not Out of Hate'

Not Out of Hate
A Novel of Burma
By Ma Ma Lay
· Edited by William H. Frederick
· Translation by Margaret Aung-Thwin

Not Out of Hate is the first Burmese novel to be translated into English and published outside of Myanmar. It offers unusual insights into the social history of the late colonial period. Set in pre-World War II Burmese society, the story centers on the relationship and marriage of seventeen-year-old Way Way with U Saw Han, a much older Burmese agent for a British trading company.

Cover of 'The Indigenization of Pali Meters in Thai Poetry'

The Indigenization of Pali Meters in Thai Poetry
By Thomas Hudak

During the Ayutthaya period in Thailand (1350-1767), a group of meters based upon specific types and arrangements of syllables became a significant part of the Thai literary corpus. Known as chan in Thai literature, these meters, and the stanzas created from them, were adapted and transformed so that they corresponded in structure to other Thai verse forms.

Cover of 'Studies in Austronesian Linguistics'

Studies in Austronesian Linguistics
By Richard Mcginn

This volume consists of seventeen articles by scholars including Robert Blust, Paul Hopper, A. L. Becker, Sarah Bell, J. C. Catford, Talmy Givón, J. W. M. Verharr and John U. Wolff. Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano, Chamorro, Malay, Old Malay, Javanese, Old Javanese, Indonesian, Niases, Loniu, and Niuean are some of the languages discussed in the study. The essays explore the issues of ergativity in Western Austronesian languages, historical morphology, phonology, phonetics and morphophonemics.

Cover of 'Essays on Contemporary Chinese Poetry'

Essays on Contemporary Chinese Poetry
By Julia Lin

This first critical study of major contemporary Chinese poets in English treats the work of Chi Hsien, Cheng Ch’ou–yu, Chou Mengtieh, Lomen, Yungtzu, Ya Hsien, Yip Wai–lim, Wu Sheng, and Yu Kuang-chung. Ranging from the classically inspired to the highly experimental, their works represent some of the most important poetry written in the post–1949 period in China.