Eileen Chang is one of the most celebrated and influential modern Chinese novelists and cultural critics of the twentieth century. First published in 1945, and just as beloved as her fiction in the Chinese-speaking world, Written on Water collects Chang's reflections on art, literature, war, urban culture, and her own life as a writer and woman, set amidst the sights and sounds of wartime Shanghai and Hong Kong. In a style at once meditative and vibrant, Chang writes of friends, colleagues, and teachers turned soldiers or wartime volunteers, and her own experiences as a part-time nurse. She also reflects on Chinese cinema, the aims of the writer, and the popularity of the Peking Opera. Chang engages the reader with her sly and sophisticated humor, conversational voice, and intense fascination with the subtleties of everyday lie. In her examination of Shanghai food, culture, and fashions, she not only reveals, but also upends prevalent attitudes toward women, presenting a portrait of a daring and cosmopolitan woman bent on questioning pieties and enjoying the pleasures of modernity, even as the world convulses in war and a revolution looms.
|Publisher:||New York Review Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction, by Nicole Huang1. A Childish Discourse2. Writing of Oneís Own3. Notes on Apartment Life4. Bugle Music from the Night Barracks5. ìWhat Is Essential Is That Names Be Rightî6. From the Ashes7. Shanghainese, After All8. Seeing with the Streets9. A Chronicle of Changing Clothes10. Love11. Speaking of Women12. By the Light of the Silver Lantern13. Letís Go! Letís Go Upstairs14. Schooling at the Silver Palace15. Peking Opera Through Foreign Eyes16. On Carrots17. The Sayings of Yanying18. Unpublished Manuscripts19. What Are We to Write?20. Making People21. Beating People22. Poetry and Nonsense23. With the Women on the Tram24. Whispers25. Unforgettable Paintings26. Under an Umbrella27. On Dance28. On Painting29. On the Second Edition of Romances30. On Music31. Epilogue: Days and Nights of China
Columbia University Press
What People are Saying About This
Eileen Chang is no doubt the most talented woman writer in 20th century China. Written on Water showcases why, more than half a century after she first won fame in Shanghai, Chang still enjoys an enormous popularity among readers, both in China and overseas. Eileen Chang's stylized depictions of Chinese manners and morals, her witty inquiry into urban trivia, and her "celebration" of historical contingency are a tableau vivant of modern Chinese lives at their most complex and fascinating.
David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University, author The Monster That Is History: History, Violence, and Fictional Writing in Twentieth-Century China
This book of essays -- the first to offer a complete rendering of Eileen Chang's 1945 legendary collection, Written on Water -- opens a whole new arena of insight onto the complicated and cosmopolitan world of Shanghai and Hong Kong in the war years of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Chang's startling original observations, phrased in a powerfully evocative language, at once bring to life a long-forgotten era as well as a lively literary intelligence of which English readers have heretofore been able to see only a small part. The translations themselves set a new standard for the rendering of the Chinese essay into English: at once meticulous in attention to detail and diction even while they capture the free flow of the original texts. This brilliant volume belongs on the shelf of every reader concerned with the evolution and vicissitudes of the modern trans-national city.
Theodore Huters, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Bringing The World Home: Appropriating The West In Late Qing And Early Republican China.