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The “Asian” Empson: Compiling a Trilingual Open-Access Database and Bibliography on the Work and Career of Sir William Empson in China and Japan, 1931-1952

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Prof. Stuart Christie

BA (Oberlin), MA (University of California), PhD (University of California)

Head of Department, Department of English Language and Literature

Funding:

  • GRF (HKD 343,320)

Introduction

  • The scope of the proposed research is regional, involving intellectual assets and modes of inquiry—biographical, archival, and cross-cultural—contributed by scholars based in China and Japan, countries where the English poet, William Empson, taught and lived during two different periods between 1931 and 1952. The aim of the research is integrative, seeking to document how Empson created discourses in his criticism and poetry for “Asia”, including the significant impact of his teaching upon China’s revolutionary generation of intellectuals. The project will deliver and disseminate a comprehensive database allowing for the compilation of the first complete bibliography, in English, of scholarly works about Empson originally written in Chinese and Japanese. The Empson database will be disseminated as open-access, thereby allowing regional scholarship, via English translation, to be more widely exchanged with a global scholarly audience. 

Methodology

  • The project involves on-site data collection by Co-Investigators at scholarly repositories in Bejing, Wuhan, and Tokyo.  A Tokyo-based RA will compile three datasets—in simplified Chinese, Japanese, and an “English-friendly” composite accessible to international scholars—eventually to be uploaded to an open-access web-based platform being constructed by the HKBU Library data scholarship unit. 

Interdisciplinary expertise

  • Apart from the on-site translational expertise required, in both Chinese and Japanese, bibliographic expertise is needed to compile “English-friendly” citations and Dublin Core Schema entries accessible to international scholars and librarians seeking access to non-English sources via the database or their own OPAC requests.  Finally, data management and web-platform building expertise will be required to “soft” launch, beta, and finalize the online database.