Beyond Brushtalk

Sino-Japanese Literary Exchange in the Interwar Period


Christopher T. Keaveney

ISBN : 978-962-209-928-9

Literary Studies

November 2008

220 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$295.00

Beyond Brushtalk explores interactions between Japanese and Chinese writers during the golden age of such exchange, 1919 to 1937. During this period, there were unprecedented opportunities for exchange between writers, which was made possible by the ease of travel between Japan and China during these years and the educational background of Chinese writers as students in Japan. Although the salubrious interaction that developed during that period was destined not to last, it nevertheless was significant as a courageous essay at cultural interaction.

This book will appeal not only to those interested in Sino-Japanese studies, an increasingly important field of study in its own right, but will also appeal to scholars of both Japanese literature and Chinese literature and researchers whose areas of interest correspond to the major writers included in this work such as Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren on the Chinese side and Tanizaki Jun’ichirō and Hayashi Fumiko on the Japanese side. The relations and resulting literary works involving these major writers are often relatively neglected aspects of their total output and will draw interest from scholars of their work. This book will be accessible to both Sinologists and Japanologists with little background in the corresponding field, and to the generalist possessing an interest in literary exchange.

Christopher Keaveney is an associate professor of Japanese and co-chair of the Asian Studies program at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. His publications, which include The Subversive Self in Modern Chinese Literature (2004) and articles published in Sino-Japanese Studies, E-ASPAC, and B.C. Asian Review, revolve around cultural relations between Japan and China in the interwar period. He is married and has two children.

“What I most like about this book is that Keaveney’s approach to the cultural exchange between Japan and China in the 1920s and 1930s is neither Sinocentric nor Japancentric—it is concerned with the dynamic of cultural interaction and not the ‘influence’ of one culture on the other. The approach is truly transnational and suggests that modern Chinese literature and its Japanese counterpart are so intertwined that neither can be understood without reference to the other. Keaveney also sets the vitality of these cultural exchanges in the dramatic context of the rising political tension between China and Japan that eventually led to all-out warfare. This book is essential reading for students of both Chinese and Japanese modern literature.” —Kirk A. Denton, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Ohio State University

“Christopher Keaveney’s analysis of Sino-Japanese literary fellowship between the wars breaks new ground in comparative East Asian studies. Set against the standard narrative of surging Japanese militarism and grim Chinese suffering, Keaveney’s study of the friendship and affinity that literature can bring to life is both original and oddly heartening.” —Margaret Hillenbrand, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and author of Literature, Modernity, and the Practice of Resistance: Japanese and Taiwanese Fiction, 1960–1990