U.S. Columbia University Press launches Chinese literature book series

Updated 2018-03-26 11:00:03 Xinhua

A book series named "How to Read Chinese Literature" is launched by The Columbia University Press in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 23, 2018.(Xinhua/Yang Chenglin)

The Columbia University Press launched a book series titled "How to Read Chinese Literature" here on Friday, with an eye to transforming the learning and teaching of Chinese literature, language, and culture in the English-speaking world.

The series is a collection of Chinese literary anthologies and language texts covering all major literary genres, with non-Chinese students and scholars as target readers.

Cai Zongqi, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is one of the series' general editors.

The series is aimed at bridging the gap between learning and teaching for non-Chinese students and scholars, especially in traditional Chinese poetry and prose, the professor told Xinhua at the launch ceremony.

The most challenging part about teaching non-Chinese students is the need for an interpretive and analytical approach instead of using descriptive, abstract words that could be well-perceived by Chinese speakers, Cai stressed.

Since 2008, Columbia University Press has published three books edited by Cai -- now all part of the series -- starting with "How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology."

The book has been popular among students, scholars and other readers, paving the way for the idea of publishing a series.

"I think it was a great idea," Jennifer Crewe, director of the press affiliated with renowned Columbia University, told Xinhua. "A good way to learn and understand another culture is through its literature."

"It's a successful formula that will help students for years to come," Crewe said of how Cai and other editors have compiled the books, which put together the English translation of traditional Chinese poetry and prose, their Chinese texts, and translation into modern Chinese.

The whole book series is expected to be out by 2020.

Columbia University Press is one of the oldest and the most prestigious publishers of translations of Asian classics and literary anthologies.

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