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Asian Literature

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J Welcome to my Web Site!  Like all great works, it is a work in progress, and I will update it as often as I can.  My purpose is to create and maintain a site that can be a resource for anyone interested in Asian Literature.  It is not intended for academics alone, but for enthusiasts of Asian culture as well.  I hope that you find this site helpful, and if you have any ideas of comments to share, my e-mail address is: asianlit@hotmail.com

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  What is Asian Literature?

            Asian literature encompasses many aspects of literature.  Primarily, it is the literature of Asian countries, written by Asian authors.  Because of immigration and colonization there are broader areas that encompass Asian literature.  There is Asian-American literature, which is generally written from the perspective of, and tells the stories of Asian-Americans and their lives and history.  Post-Colonial literature includes the country of India, Hong Kong, and literature produced from countries that were previously colonized by the British Empire. 

            As multi-faceted as the Asian people themselves, is the study of Asian literature.

Why Study Asian Literature?

            Asia is one of the largest continents, and encompasses a diverse population, with a long and extensive history.  With the ethnic and cultural diversity increasing in our communities, and an increased focus in multi-cultural education, the inclusion of this literature in any course of study would only be an enhancement.

            With a history that can be traced thousands of years, the countries of Asia provide a key into how civilization began.  The first novel written was in 11th century Japan.  The novel is The Tale of Genji, and it was written by Murasaki Shikibu, a woman.  Also of note is the artwork attached to this novel.  It encompasses many of the qualities valued by the Japanese, and allows for a very specific and well orchestrated view of the Heian court during Murasaki Shikibu’s life.

            By reading texts such as these, as well as the religious texts that have survived centuries as well, we are able to gain a better understanding of the history and culture of Asia, which in turn enables us to better understand the diversity and multi-cultural aspects of our own American culture.

Asian Poetry:  More than just Haiku

            Traditionally, when teaching poetry, many teachers touch on the Japanese Haiku as a method of learning a non-rhyming method of poetry.  With the strict syllabic guidelines, students are taught that there is more to writing a poem than making it rhyme.  In turn, what ends up happening, is that oftentimes students are not exposed to other types of Asian poetry, and do not learn the reasons for the poetry, and the high regard that it receives in Asian culture.  There is poetry in the tea ceremony, and it is the form that was used to communicate between lovers of the Japanese court.  There are several different types, and ways in which they are used.  To expose students and teachers to these will enable a better understanding and appreciation of Asian poetry, and poetry in general. 

Some types of poetry are written in groups, while others are a singular effort.  Either way, a sampling of resources for exploring forms outside of Haiku is provided here:

 

¯     http://www.cityu.edu.hk/ls/express/

¯     http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/4770028865/104-3991778-2454319?vi=glance

Asian Resources:

¯    This web site lists several resources for both educators and students alike.  It is from Indiana University, and not all links are accessible directly from the page.    

o       http://www.indiana.edu/~eric_rec/ieo/bibs/asianam.html

o       http://vos.ucsb.edu/browse.asp?id=2746

 

¯    This web site incorporates a link with Amazon.com to enable easy acquisition to select titles.  The site provides brief bios and relates some synopses as well.

http://www.boondocksnet.com/cb/asianam.html

 

¯    Children can benefit from early exposure to Asian literature through traditional fables, and new stories written by Asian-American authors.  This web site provides such an offering.

http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/users/sawweb/sawnet/kidsbooks.html

 

¯    History and religion play a great part in the development of a culture and its arts.  Therefore, gaining a background in these areas is key to really appreciating the literature of the country, any country.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/eastasia/eastasiasbook.html

Last Updated: 05.15.03

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