The Lioness in Bloom

Voices from Asia

Book 9
Univ of California Press
Free sample

Kepner's selection shows the many ways fiction has mirrored the lives of Thai women over the twentieth century. The spectrum is broad, encompassing the young and the old, the rural and the cosmopolitan, the privileged and the poor. Some writers address previously unacceptable themes: female sexuality, spousal abuse, gender oppression. Others display a scintillating sense of humor. They touch on many themes—injustice, the heartlessness of society, loneliness, the difficult choices that life presents. Susan Kepner's lyrical, faithful translations preserve the tenor and resonances of these voices, many of which will be heard for the first time by English-speaking readers.
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About the author

Susan Fulop Kepner has been a Lecturer in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1991. Among the works she has translated from Thai are Letters from Thailand by Botan (1977) and A Child of the Northeast by Kampoon Boontawee (1987). She has also written a book of original prose poems entitled Somebody's Mother (1987).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Jul 31, 1996
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Pages
281
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ISBN
9780520915411
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Literary Criticism / Asian / General
Social Science / Gender Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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While the natural splendor of Nepal has been celebrated in many books, very little of the substantial body of Nepali literature has appeared in English translation. Himalayan Voices provides admirers of Nepal and lovers of literature with their first glimpse of the vibrant literary scene in Nepal today.

An introduction to the two most developed genres of modern Nepali literature—poetry and the short story—this work profiles eleven of Nepal's most distinguished poets and offers translations of more than eighty poems written from 1916 to 1986. Twenty of the most interesting and best-known examples of the Nepali short story are translated into English for the first time by Michael Hutt. All provide vivid descriptions of life in twentieth-century Nepal.

Although the days when Nepali poets were regularly jailed for their writings have passed, until 1990 the strictures of various laws governing public security and partisan political activity still required writers and publishers to exercise a certain caution. In spite of these conditions, poetry in Nepal remained the most vital and innovative genre, in which sentiments and opinions on contemporary social and political issues were frequently expressed.

While the Nepali short story adapted its present form only during the early 1930s, it has rapidly developed a surprisingly high degree of sophistication. These stories offer insights into the workings of Nepali society: into caste, agrarian relations, social change, the status of women, and so on. Such insights are more immediate than those offered by scholarly works and are conveyed by implication and assumption rather than analysis and exposition.

This book should appeal not only to admirers of Nepal, but to all readers with an interest in non-Western literatures. Himalayan Voices establishes for the first time the existence of a sophisticated literary tradition in Nepal and the eastern Himalaya.
While the natural splendor of Nepal has been celebrated in many books, very little of the substantial body of Nepali literature has appeared in English translation. Himalayan Voices provides admirers of Nepal and lovers of literature with their first glimpse of the vibrant literary scene in Nepal today.

An introduction to the two most developed genres of modern Nepali literature—poetry and the short story—this work profiles eleven of Nepal's most distinguished poets and offers translations of more than eighty poems written from 1916 to 1986. Twenty of the most interesting and best-known examples of the Nepali short story are translated into English for the first time by Michael Hutt. All provide vivid descriptions of life in twentieth-century Nepal.

Although the days when Nepali poets were regularly jailed for their writings have passed, until 1990 the strictures of various laws governing public security and partisan political activity still required writers and publishers to exercise a certain caution. In spite of these conditions, poetry in Nepal remained the most vital and innovative genre, in which sentiments and opinions on contemporary social and political issues were frequently expressed.

While the Nepali short story adapted its present form only during the early 1930s, it has rapidly developed a surprisingly high degree of sophistication. These stories offer insights into the workings of Nepali society: into caste, agrarian relations, social change, the status of women, and so on. Such insights are more immediate than those offered by scholarly works and are conveyed by implication and assumption rather than analysis and exposition.

This book should appeal not only to admirers of Nepal, but to all readers with an interest in non-Western literatures. Himalayan Voices establishes for the first time the existence of a sophisticated literary tradition in Nepal and the eastern Himalaya.
Boonlua Debyasuvarn was born to a noble Siamese family in 1911 and not only witnessed, but participated in, the great events of her century. She was talented, intelligent, and determined to make her own place in the world beyond Thewet Palace, her family home.

After the 1932 overthrow of the absolute monarchy, M.L. Boonlua became one of the first Thai women to earn a university degree. As an official in the Ministry of Education, she worked tirelessly to improve education within the kingdom and represent Thailand at international education conferences. She was a greatly respected teacher of literature and was much cherished for her charm, wit, and eminently quotable remarks. Her essays on literature became the foundation of modern Thai literary criticism and her novels are now recognized as unique social histories of the times in which she lived.

Lucid and sensitive, this engaging biography documents Boonlua’s life within the context of her society and the enormous changes her country was going through in her lifetime.

What Others Are Saying

“An intimate view of an extraordinary life. M.L. Boonlua’s passage from precocious child of an aristocratic lineage under the absolute monarchy to fiery debater in the liberal explosion after 1973 cuts across the social upheavals of twentieth-century Thailand. Susan Kepner succeeds in conveying the sheer complexity of her life, resulting in not only a fine biography and literary appreciation but also a unique essay in social history.”—Chris Baker, historian and writer, co-translator of The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen

“This is not only an excellent biography of a unique Siamese lady, but it is also a wonderful social history of Siam from the reign of Rama VI to the end of the twentieth century. Anyone who wants to understand the subtleties of Thai culture and the delicacies of personal interaction should not fail to read this book.”—S. Sivaraksa, a Thai public intellectual

Spider Eaters is at once a moving personal story, a fascinating family history, and a unique chronicle of political upheaval told by a Chinese woman who came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution. With stunning honesty and a lively, sly humor, Rae Yang records her life from her early years as the daughter of Chinese diplomats in Switzerland, to her girlhood at an elite middle school in Beijing, to her adolescent experience as a Red Guard and later as a laborer on a pig farm in the remote northern wilderness. She tells of her eventual disillusionment with the Maoist revolution, how remorse and despair nearly drove her to suicide, and how she struggled to make sense of conflicting events that often blurred the line between victim and victimizer, aristocrat and peasant, communist and counter-revolutionary. Moving gracefully between past and present, dream and reality, the author artfully conveys the vast complexity of life in China as well as the richness, confusion, and magic of her own inner life and struggle.

Much of the power of the narrative derives from Yang's multi-generational, cross-class perspective. She invokes the myths, legends, folklore, and local customs that surrounded her and brings to life the many people who were instrumental in her life: her nanny, a poor woman who raised her from a baby and whose character is conveyed through the bedtime tales she spins; her father; and her beloved grandmother, who died as a result of the political persecution she suffered.

Spanning the years from 1950 to 1980, Rae Yang's story is evocative, complex, and told with striking candor. It is one of the most immediate and engaging narratives of life in post-1949 China.
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