TSLR Book Club Meeting #15: Sunday, May 19

The Shanghai Literary Review’s Book Club will next meet on Sunday, May 19th at 6:30 p.m. We will be discussing two pieces by Victor Segalen: “Essay on Exoticism” and “Stèles. This month's discussion will be led by Ryan, an educator and writer currently working on a sequel to Stéphane Mallarmé’s Le Livre.


Images courtesy Amazon

About the Books (via Amazon):

Essay on Exoticism

Written over the course of fourteen years between 1904 and 1918, at the height of the age of imperialism, Essay on Exoticism encompasses Segalen’s attempts to define “true Exoticism.” This concept, he hoped, would not only replace nineteenth-century notions of exoticism that he considered tawdry and romantic, but also redirect his contemporaries’ propensity to reduce the exotic to the “colonial.” His critique envisions a mechanism that appreciates cultural difference—which it posits as an aesthetic and ontological value—rather than assimilating it: “Exoticism’s power is nothing other than the ability to conceive otherwise,” he writes. 

Segalen’s pioneering work on otherness anticipates and informs much of the current postcolonial critique of colonial discourse. As such Essay on Exoticism is essential reading for both cultural theorists or those with an interest in the politics of difference and diversity.


With this highly original collection of prose poems in French and Chinese, Segalen invented a new genre—the "stèle-poem"—in imitation of the tall stone tablets with formal inscriptions that he saw in China. His wry persona declaims these inscriptions like an emperor struggling to command his personal empire, drawing from a vast range of Chinese texts to explore themes of friendship, love, desire, gender roles, violence, exoticism, otherness, and selfhood. The result is a linguistically and culturally hybrid modernist poetics that is often ironic and at times haunting. Segalen's bilingual masterwork is presented here fully translated, in the most extensively annotated critical edition ever produced. It includes unpublished manuscript material, newly identified sources, commentaries on the Chinese, and a facsimile of the original edition as printed in Beijing in 1914.

Date: Sunday, 6:30pm Location: Old China Hand Style, second floor OR first floor big table in back corner. Please connect with Juli via WeChat (ID Fialta) in order to be pulled into the Book Club chat group where we post more real-time updates, or if you need help finding the location/meeting table.

Directions: 374 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, close to IAPM, metro stop Shaanxi Nan Lu

About the TSLR Book Club: TSLR hosts monthly group discussions about one fiction or nonfiction book related to Shanghai or China at large. Members of the book club choose and lead the books to be read. To learn more about The Shanghai Literary Review, please visit shanghailiterary.com.

Need further details about the book club or help getting a copy of the book/stories? Privately message Juli at fialta on WeChat.

Book Club FAQs:

Do I have to finish the book to attend a book club meeting? Whether you finished reading the book or not, we will still welcome you with open arms! We encourage everyone to read the book of the month, but some people come to meetings without fully completing it. We only require you to have an open mind when discussing the literary themes and Chinese history presented within the book.

Where can I buy these books? Because of the high cost of English books in China, we encourage everyone to buy an e-copy online. You can send a PM to fialta if you're having trouble finding a copy.

Do I need to RSVP?

Yes, for book club meetings please RSVP on our MeetUp page. This can help us better prepare for meetings and provide you the best literary experience possible.

Previously Read Books:

  • Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens: Reportage by László Krasznahorkai.

  • Good Girl of Chinatown by Jenevieve Chang

  • Years of Red Dust by Qiu Xiaolong

  • Street of Eternal Happiness by Rob Schmitz

  • Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones

  • China in Ten Words by Yu Hua

  • Little Reunions by Eileen Chang    

  • Border Town by Shen Congwen

  • Factory Girls by Leslie Chang  

  • The Family by Ba Jin  

  • Remembering Shanghai by Claire Chao & Isabel Sun Chao

  • From the Soil by Fei Xiaotong  

  • selected short stories by Mu Shiying & Yiyun Li   

  • The Invisibility Cloak by Ge Fei   

Issue Two - Shanghai Launch Party Recap

Thank you for coming out on Saturday night to help us launch TSLR Issue Two! For the first time, the editors of TSLR took the stage to discuss the inner workings of the magazine, a few of our favorite pieces (well, that's all of them...), and the editorial process. We were also so grateful to answer your many thoughtful and thought provoking questions. 

From the Shanghai team, we were happy to have Alex Gobin, Colum Murphy, Ryan Thorpe, Kenny Ong, Juli Min, Fuping Shao, and Steph Bailey. 

Photos by Alejandro Caceres @acv25

After the panel, we invited Ronald Paredes, the Issue Two contributor who was able to attend the party that night, to speak about his piece The March of the Invaders. He gave us insight into his wood carving process and the story behind his work, which is inspired by both the events in Nanjing's wartime history as well as his own perspective as a foreigner in China. 

The Shanghai Literary Review is so proud of our new issue, and we're so glad to get it out into you hands. Please visit our web store or our WeChat store for more information.

Now, what's next up for TSLR? 

  • 1/18/2018 - Our New York City Issue Two launch party will be happening at the AAWW, and many of our stateside contributors will be there to read and discuss their works. Watch this space for details. 
  • 2/15/2018 - The deadline to submit for TSLR Issue Three
  • April/May - TSLR will be launching our first special edition publication, Concrete, a collection of essays and photo-essays about Chinese cities.

If you have any questions or feedback about the issue or about any of our upcoming projects, please get in touch at shanghailiterary@gmail.com! We also love to see photos of our magazine and our readers in various place and contexts; please tag us @shanghailiterary on Instagram or Facebook if you have photographs related to TSLR. 

A Night of Storytelling with The Shanghai Literary Review

TSLR is excited to launch its monthly open-mic series with its first reading on Friday, February 24, 7:30pm at Yuncai Café. Bring your best poetry, translations, stories, and essays, and sign up to read to a supportive crowd of fellow writers and art lovers. Or just come to listen and relax with new friends. Three of the editors of TSLR will be reading their work that night, and the bar will be serving drinks and snacks.

Come at 7:30pm to sign up for a reading slot. Please limit readings to 5 minutes, including introductory remarks. 

Yuncai Cafe - 260 Changshou Road, NE corner of Changshou and Xikang, inside the park