March 1, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 11

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    Yu to continue research ‘journey’ into 16th-century Chinese masterwork with Mellon Foundation grant

    Anthony C. Yu

    The Trustees of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have approved a $55,000 award to the University for an Emeritus Fellowship to support a project of research and writing on the 16th-century masterwork of traditional Chinese fiction, The Journey to the West.

    The award supports the work of Anthony C. Yu, the Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and Professor Emeritus of Religion and Literature in the Divinity School. Eligibility for the award is limited to retired scholars nominated by universities invited by the Mellon Foundation.

    In 1984, Yu was awarded the Gordon J. Laing Prize from the University Press for his four-volume translation of The Journey to the West, the first complete version in English. The Mellon fellowship will support a thorough revision of that translation, featuring the conversion into the now standard Romanization of Chinese characters, a new scholarly introduction and updated annotations.

    The Mellon support will enable Yu to reconcile the old full-length edition with the format, style and scholarly substance with the new abridgement. The bulk of Yu’s work will be done in the University Library, but he also will be traveling to do research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and its newly established Centre for the Study of Daoist Culture.

    In his research, Yu focuses on the comparative study of both literary and religious traditions. The themes and topics of Greek religions and Christian theology have influenced his essays on epics (Classical and Renaissance) and tragic dramas of the West.

    Similarly, he has worked to reinterpret classical Chinese narratives and poetry in light of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Yu has made specific comparisons of Chinese and Western texts, literary and religious histories and issues of theory and criticism. He has course offerings at University have been divided among the Divinity School (in both Religion and Literature and the History of Religions), and the East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Comparative Literature departments.

    In addition to his translation of The Journey to the West, Yu co-edited (with Mary Gerhart) Morphologies of Faith: Essays in Religion and Culture in Honor of Nathan A. Scott, Jr. Yu also published Rereading the Stone: Desire and the Making of Fiction in “Dream of the Red Chamber,” and State and Religion in China: Historical and Textual Perspectives. Two collections of his critical essays also have been translated into Chinese and published both in Taiwan, R.O.C., and China.

    Yu’s translation of a one-volume edition titled The Monkey and the Monk, An Abridgement of The Journey of the West was published this year by the University Press.