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Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change


Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change is the first systematic and detailed overview of modern Tibetan literature, which has burgeoned only in the last thirty years. This comprehensive collection brings together fourteen pioneering scholars in the nascent field of Tibetan literary studies, including authors who are active in the Tibetan literary world itself. These scholars examine the literary output of Tibetan authors writing in Tibetan, Chinese, and English, both in Tibet and in the Tibetan diaspora.

The contributors explore the circumstances that led to the development of modern Tibetan literature, its continuities and breaks with classical Tibetan literary forms, and the ways that writers use forms such as magical realism, satire, and humor to negotiate literary freedom within the Peopleandrsquo;s Republic of China. They provide crucial information about Tibetan writersandrsquo; lives in China and abroad, the social and political contexts in which they write, and the literary merits of their oeuvre. Along with deep social, cultural, and political analysis, this wealth of information clarifies the complex circumstances that Tibetan writers face in the PRC and the diaspora. The contributors consider not only poetry, short stories, and novels but also other forms of cultural productionandmdash;such as literary magazines, films, and Web sitesandmdash;that provide a public forum in the Tibetan areas of the PRC, where censorship and restrictions on public gatherings remain the norm. Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change includes a previously unavailable list of modern Tibetan works translated into Western languages and a comprehensive English-language index of names, subjects, and terms.

Contributors: Pema Bhum, Howard Y. F. Choy, Yangdon Dhondup, Lauran R. Hartley, Hortsang Jigme, Matthew T. Kapstein, Nancy G. Lin, Lara Maconi, Franandccedil;oise Robin, Patricia Schiaffini-Vedani, Ronald D. Schwartz, Tsering Shakya, Sangye Gyatso (aka Gangzhanduuml;n), Steven J. Venturino,

Riika Virtanen


Collection provides a critical introduction to both the recent emergence of modern literary forms by Tibetan writers-- writing in Tibetan, Chinese, and English--and to the cultural discourse accompanying and bolstered by this new literature.


The first systematic and detailed overview of modern Tibetan literature.

About the Author

Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change will instantly become the standard reference for future writing on Tibetan literature. The significance of that literature for Sino-Tibetan relations and for the fate of the Tibetan cultural world is only now being recognized. The list of contributors to this collection is a veritable ‘who’s who’ in the study of Tibetan literature.”—Janet Gyatso, author of Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary
“This book is a milestone. It is the first to bring together the complex variety of ingredients that have nurtured modern Tibetan literature. It considers several literary genres, written in three languages (Tibetan, Chinese, and English), and gives sensitive attention both to Tibetan literary tradition and to the turmoil of modern politics and social change.”—Perry Link, author of The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System

Table of Contents

Foreword / Matthew K. Kapstein vii

Note on Transliteration xi

Introduction / Lauran R. Hartley and Patricia Schiaffini-Vedani xiii

Part One: Engaging Traditions

1. Heterodox Views and the New Orthodox Poems: Tibetan Writers in the Early and Mid-Twentieth Century / Lauran R. Hartley 3

2. Roar of the Snow Lion: Tibetan Poetry in Chinese / Yangdon Dhondup 32

3. The Development of Modern Tibetan Literature in the People's Republic of China in the 1980s / Tsering Shakya 61

4. Dondrup Gyel and the Remaking of the Tibetan Ramayana / Nancy G. Lin 86

5. andquot;Heartbeat of a New Generationandquot;: A Discussion of the New Poetry / Pema Bhum 112

6. andquot;Heartbeat of a New Generationandquot; Revisited / Pema Bhum 135

7. andquot;Oracles and Demonsandquot; in Tibetan Literature Today: Representations of Religion in Tibetan-Medium Fiction / Francoise Robin 148

8. One Nation, Two Discourses: Tibetan New Era Literature and the Language Debate / Lara maconi 173

9. The andquot;Condorandquot; Flies over Tibet: Zhaxi Dawa and the Significance of Tibetan Magical Realism / Patricia Schiaffini-Vedani 202

10. In Quest(ion) of an andquot;Iandquot;: Identity and Idiocy in Alai's Red Poppies / Howard Y. F. Choy 225

11. Development and Urban Space in Contemporary Tibetan Literature / Riika J. Virtanen 236

12. Modern Tibetan Literature and the Rise of Writer Coteries / Sangye Gyatso (Gangzhun) 263

13. Tibetan Literature in the Diaspora / Hortsang Jigme 281

14. Placing Tibetan Fiction in a World of Literary Studies: Jamyang Norbu's The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes / Steven J. Venturino 301

Appendix 1: Glossary of Tibetan Spellings 327

Appendix 2: Glossary of Chinese Terms 338

Appendix 3: Contemporary Tibetan Literary Works in Translation 340

Bibliography 345

About the Contributors 369

Index 373

Product Details

Hartley, Lauran R., Schiaffini-vedani
Duke University Press
Hartley, Lauran R.
Foreword by:
Kapstein, Matthew T.
Kapstein, Matthew T.
Schiaffini-Vedani, Patricia
Hartley, Lauran R.
Schiaffini-Vedani, Patricia
Hartley, Lauran R., Schiaffini-Vedani
Hartley, Lauran R.
History and criticism
20th century
Asian - General
Tibetan literature - 20th century -
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
31 illustrations, 2 maps
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Literary History » Asia

Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change New Trade Paper
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Product details 424 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822342779 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Collection provides a critical introduction to both the recent emergence of modern literary forms by Tibetan writers-- writing in Tibetan, Chinese, and English--and to the cultural discourse accompanying and bolstered by this new literature.
"Synopsis" by ,
The first systematic and detailed overview of modern Tibetan literature.
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