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Wilt L Idema - Author

About the Author

Books by Wilt L Idema

Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend

Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/03/2008

Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall brings together ten versions of a popular Chinese legend that has intrigued readers and listeners for hundreds of years. Elements of the story date back to the early centuries B.C.E. and are an intrinsic part of Chinese literary history. Major themes and subtle nuances of the legend are illuminated here by Wilt L. Idema's new translations and pairings. In this classic story, a young woman named Meng Jiang makes a long, solitary journey to deliver winter clothes to her husband, a drafted laborer on the grandiose Great Wall construction project of the notorious First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (BCE 221-208). But her travels end in tragedy when, upon arrival, she learns that her husband has died under the harsh working conditions and been entombed in the wall. Her tears of grief cause the wall to collapse and expose his bones, which she collects for proper burial. In some versions, she tricks the lecherous emperor, who wants to marry her, into providing a stately funeral for her husband and then takes her own life. The versions presented here are ballads and chantefables (alternating chanted verse and recited prose), five from urban printed texts from the late Imperial and early Republican periods, and five from oral performances and partially reconstructed texts collected in rural areas in recent decades. They represent a wide range of genres, regional styles, dates, and content. From one version to another, different elements of the story--the circumstances of Meng Jiangnu's marriage, her relationship with her parents-in-law, the journey to the wall, her grief, her defiance of the emperor--are elaborated upon, downplayed, or left out altogether depending on the particular moral lessons that tale authors wished to impart. Idema brings together his considerable translation skills and broad knowledge of Chinese literature to present an assortment of tales and insightful commentary that will be a gold mine of information for scholars in a number of disciplines. Haiyan Lee's essay discusses the appeal of the Meng Jiangnu story to twentieth-century literary reformers, and the interpretations they imposed on the material they collected.

Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend

Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2008

Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall brings together ten versions of a popular Chinese legend that has intrigued readers and listeners for hundreds of years. Elements of the story date back to the early centuries B.C.E. and are an intrinsic part of Chinese literary history. Major themes and subtle nuances of the legend are illuminated here by Wilt L. Idema's new translations and pairings. In this classic story, a young woman named Meng Jiang makes a long, solitary journey to deliver winter clothes to her husband, a drafted laborer on the grandiose Great Wall construction project of the notorious First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (BCE 221-208). But her travels end in tragedy when, upon arrival, she learns that her husband has died under the harsh working conditions and been entombed in the wall. Her tears of grief cause the wall to collapse and expose his bones, which she collects for proper burial. In some versions, she tricks the lecherous emperor, who wants to marry her, into providing a stately funeral for her husband and then takes her own life. The versions presented here are ballads and chantefables (alternating chanted verse and recited prose), five from urban printed texts from the late Imperial and early Republican periods, and five from oral performances and partially reconstructed texts collected in rural areas in recent decades. They represent a wide range of genres, regional styles, dates, and content. From one version to another, different elements of the story--the circumstances of Meng Jiangnu's marriage, her relationship with her parents-in-law, the journey to the wall, her grief, her defiance of the emperor--are elaborated upon, downplayed, or left out altogether depending on the particular moral lessons that tale authors wished to impart. Idema brings together his considerable translation skills and broad knowledge of Chinese literature to present an assortment of tales and insightful commentary that will be a gold mine of information for scholars in a number of disciplines. Haiyan Lee's essay discusses the appeal of the Meng Jiangnu story to twentieth-century literary reformers, and the interpretations they imposed on the material they collected.

Books in Numbers

Books in Numbers

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/02/2008

This collection of papers is a result of an academic conference entitled Books in Numbers held in celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Harvard-Yenching Library. The aim of this conference was to celebrate the book culture of East Asia by comparing and contrasting the development of manuscript and print culture in each of the separate cultural areas of the region: China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Central Asia.The papers in this volume do not in any way attempt to offer a complete picture of the history of writing and the book in East Asia, but rather they hope to make a modest contribution by highlighting the differential developments in each of the cultural regions, as they were influenced by political, economic, social, and cultural factors.

Passion, Poverty And Travel: Traditional Hakka Songs And Ballads

Passion, Poverty And Travel: Traditional Hakka Songs And Ballads

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/05/2007

Translations from Chinese popular literature of the late-imperial and early republican periods are still very rare, and selections that are devoted to a specific genre or dialect rarer still. These translations of traditional Hakka popular literature are not only a contribution to a broader knowledge of traditional Chinese folk literature, but also contribute to the study of Hakka culture as reflected in these racy songs and exciting narratives.This book is the first extensive selection in English of traditional Hakka mountain songs (shange) and long narrative ballads in various genres. One chapter is devoted to songs and ballads on Hakka migration to Taiwan and Southeast Asia in 18th to 20th centuries. The selection of mountain songs is primarily based on a collection compiled before 1949. The ballads selected focus on texts that were widely popular in late-Qing and early Republican times, but post-Liberation performances and new compositions have been included for contrast. All translations are provided with an introduction and annotations.

Passion, Poverty And Travel: Traditional Hakka Songs And Ballads

Passion, Poverty And Travel: Traditional Hakka Songs And Ballads

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/05/2007

Translations from Chinese popular literature of the late-imperial and early republican periods are still very rare, and selections that are devoted to a specific genre or dialect rarer still. These translations of traditional Hakka popular literature are not only a contribution to a broader knowledge of traditional Chinese folk literature, but also contribute to the study of Hakka culture as reflected in these racy songs and exciting narratives.This book is the first extensive selection in English of traditional Hakka mountain songs (shange) and long narrative ballads in various genres. One chapter is devoted to songs and ballads on Hakka migration to Taiwan and Southeast Asia in 18th to 20th centuries. The selection of mountain songs is primarily based on a collection compiled before 1949. The ballads selected focus on texts that were widely popular in late-Qing and early Republican times, but post-Liberation performances and new compositions have been included for contrast. All translations are provided with an introduction and annotations.

Trauma and Transcendence in Early Qing Literature

Trauma and Transcendence in Early Qing Literature

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2006

The collapse of the Ming dynasty and the Manchu conquest of China were traumatic experiences for Chinese intellectuals, not only because of the many decades of destructive warfare but also because of the adjustments necessary to life under a foreign regime. History became a defining subject in their writings, and it went on shaping literary production in succeeding generations as the Ming continued to be remembered, re-imagined, and refigured on new terms. The twelve chapters in this volume and the introductory essays on early Qing poetry, prose, and drama understand the writings of this era wholly or in part as attempts to recover from or transcend the trauma of the transition years. By the end of the seventeenth century, the sense of trauma had diminished, and a mood of accommodation had taken hold. Varying shades of lament or reconciliation, critical or nostalgic retrospection on the Ming, and rejection or acceptance of the new order distinguish the many voices in these writings.

Judge Bao And The Rule Of Law: Eight Ballad-stories From The Period 1250-1450

Judge Bao And The Rule Of Law: Eight Ballad-stories From The Period 1250-1450

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/09/2002

Pure, orthodox and incorruptible, Judge Bao has been serving as the preeminent embodiment of justice in China for almost a thousand years, so much so his court cases have been adapted as stories, novels and plays over the centuries. Now, for the very first time a series of eight ballad-stories on Judge Bao, dating from the period 1250-1450, are offered in a complete and annotated translation. These texts will provide the reader a reflection of the legend of Judge Bao in its earliest phase of development, with an extended introduction placing the ballad-stories in context with the development of the Judge Bao legend. These ballad-stories, in contrast to past plays dating from the same period, present abuse of power and corruption as endemic in the courts and bureaucratic service, and show Judge Bao imposing the rule of law even on the emperor.

Judge Bao And The Rule Of Law: Eight Ballad-stories From The Period 1250-1450

Judge Bao And The Rule Of Law: Eight Ballad-stories From The Period 1250-1450

Author: Wilt L. Idema Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/09/2002

Pure, orthodox and incorruptible, Judge Bao has been serving as the preeminent embodiment of justice in China for almost a thousand years, so much so his court cases have been adapted as stories, novels and plays over the centuries. Now, for the very first time a series of eight ballad-stories on Judge Bao, dating from the period 1250-1450, are offered in a complete and annotated translation. These texts will provide the reader a reflection of the legend of Judge Bao in its earliest phase of development, with an extended introduction placing the ballad-stories in context with the development of the Judge Bao legend. These ballad-stories, in contrast to past plays dating from the same period, present abuse of power and corruption as endemic in the courts and bureaucratic service, and show Judge Bao imposing the rule of law even on the emperor.