By Charles Laughlin, November 20, '16
By the River: Seven Contemporary Chinese Novellas is now available from Oklahoma University Press. Co-edited by Charles A. Laughlin, Liu Hongtao and Jonathan Stalling, this is the first collection to present novellas by multiple contemporary authors, and includes an introductory essay on the novella in China by Laughlin with Liu Hongtao. The stories are Jiang Yun's "The Beloved Tree" (蒋韵，《心爱的树》, Laughlin), Xu Zechen's "Voice Change" (徐则臣，《苍声》，Laughlin), Han Shaogong's "Mountain Songs from the Heavens" (韩少功，《山歌天上来》，Lucas Klein), Chi Zijian's "A Flurry of Blessings" (迟子建，《福翩翩》，Eleanor Goodman), Fang Fang's "Love and its Lack are Emblazoned on the Heart" (方方，《有爱无爱都是铭心刻骨》，Goodman), Li Tie's "Safety Bulletin" (李铁，《安全简报》，Laughlin), and Wang Anyi's "The Sanctimonious Cobbler" (王安忆，《骄傲的皮匠》，Andrea Lingenfelter). More details are available in the Amazon.com listing.
By Charles Laughlin, January 23, '14
I write the following as a tribute to C.T. Hsia, as a student of his
and as a modest contributor to the field he created almost
single-handedly with the publication of A History of Modern Chinese
Fiction. I had been trying to visit Hsia over the course of the fall
semester because I had not seen him for about two years. But my own
difficulties prevented it until late December, when I had the
opportunity to visit him in New York on Dec. 19--as it turns out,
just one short week before he passed away.
I started my PhD studies in Chinese literature at Columbia University
in 1988, three years before C.T. Hsia retired, which means that I
took the full three years of PhD coursework under his direction. I
applied to six graduate schools, and Columbia was one of the two that
made compelling offers to me. My decision to go to Columbia was in
part based on an attraction to New York City, but the real reason was
the opportunity to study with C.T. Hsia; I had read his History and
The Classic Chinese Novel in college and was aware of his preeminent
stature in the field of modern Chinese literary studies. I had no
idea that the timing put me right at the end of his teaching career.