About this Project

2017 – 2018

The regional cultures of East Asia are porous and mutually influencing. The major literary tradition in the area, that of China, has integrated forms and materials from all its neighbors, as well as transferring aspects of culture to them. But the history of these cultural flows—among Chinese, Sanskrit, Persian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Manchu, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Malay, and the languages of the southern highlands, just to name a few—is yet to be written. This project was meant to fill that gap. In 2015 the International Comparative Literature Association commissioned a cross-border, long-term, multilingual history of the literature of the East Asian region. As part of the conceptualization of this ambitious project, an international team of scholars gathered to set the contents and emphases of this comparative literary history. The team expected to fill six or seven volumes with new content, some of which will be translated into English from the work of scholars better known in their home countries.

Image: Folio from the Khotanese Buddhist text The Book of Zambasta (5th-7th century), courtesy the International Dunhuang Project


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