Comparative Journeys: Essays on Literature and Religion East and West

Hardcover | November 5, 2008

byAnthony C. Yu

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Throughout his academic career, Anthony C. Yu has employed a comparative approach to literary analysis that pays careful attention to the religious and philosophical elements of Chinese and Western texts. His mastery of both canons remains unmatched in the field, and his immense knowledge of the contexts that gave rise to each tradition supplies the foundations for ideal comparative scholarship.

In these essays, Yu explores the overlap between literature and religion in Chinese and Western literature. He opens with a principal method for relating texts to religion and follows with several essays that apply this approach to single texts in discrete traditions: the Greek religion in Prometheus; Christian theology in Milton; ancient Chinese philosophical thought in Laozi; and Chinese religious syncretism in The Journey to the West.

Yu's essays juxtapose Chinese and Western texts?Cratylus next to Xunzi, for example?and discuss their relationship to language and subjects, such as liberal Greek education against general education in China. He compares a specific Western text and religion to a specific Chinese text and religion. He considers the Divina Commedia in the context of Catholic theology alongside The Journey to the West as it relates to Chinese syncretism, united by the theme of pilgrimage. Yet Yu's focus isn't entirely tied to the classics. He also considers the struggle for human rights in China and how this topic relates to ancient Chinese social thought and modern notions of rights in the West.

"In virtually every high-cultural system," Yu writes, "be it the Indic, the Islamic, the Sino-Japanese, or the Judeo?Christian, the literary tradition has developed in intimate?indeed, often intertwining-relation to religious thought, practice, institution, and symbolism." Comparative Journeys is a major step toward unraveling this complexity, revealing through the skilled observation of texts the extraordinary intimacy between two supposedly disparate languages and cultures.

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Throughout his academic career, Anthony C. Yu has employed a comparative approach to literary analysis that pays careful attention to the religious and philosophical elements of Chinese and Western texts. His mastery of both canons remains unmatched in the field, and his immense knowledge of the contexts that gave rise to each traditi...

Anthony C. Yu is Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and professor emeritus of religion and literature in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. A native of Hong Kong, He received his doctorate at The University of Chicago and held concurrent faculty appointments in the departments o...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:November 5, 2008Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231143265

ISBN - 13:9780231143264

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Literature and Religion2. New Gods and Old Order: Tragic Theology in Prometheus Bound3. Life in the Garden: Freedom and the Image of God in Paradise Lost4. The Order of Temptations in Paradise Regained: Implications for Christology5. Problems and Prospects in Chinese-Western Literary Relations6. Narrative Structure and the Problem of Chapter Nine in the Xiyouji7. Two Literary Examples of Religious Pilgrimage: The Commedia and The Journey to the West8. Religion and Literature in China: The "Obscure Way" of The Journey to the West9. The Real Tripitaka Revisited: International Religion and National Politics10. "Rest, Rest, Perturbed Spirit!": Ghosts in Traditional Chinese Prose Fiction11. Cratylus and the Xunzi on Names12. Reading the Daodejing: Ethics and Politics of the Rhetoric13. Altered Accents: A Comparative View of Liberal Education14. Readability: Religion and the Reception of Translation15. Enduring Change: Confucianism and the Prospect of Human Rights16. China and the Problem of Human Rights: Ancient Verities and Modern RealitiesIndex

Editorial Reviews

An original and pioneering work, it not only alerts the reader to unsuspected correlations between cultures but also, perhaps most important, outlines almost allegorically the dynamics that link the past and the present to the future.