Just around the corner from Rome’s Pantheon, on the Via di Sant’Ignazio, is the famed Biblioteca Casanatense. Among its precious  books and manuscripts is an album of 76 striking watercolours made  in Goa around 1540, the work of an anonymous Indian painter for an unknown Portuguese patron.

Nonlocal, or Youth and Night, Christophe Bolduc (Gymnasia Press, July 2020)
Nonlocal, or Youth and Night, Christophe Bolduc (Gymnasia Press, July 2020)

Concerning education, Nietzsche asked, “How can the individual be integrated into the counterpoint of private and public culture; how can he both sing the melody and simultaneously make it the accompaniment?” At its core, this is the same question that Nonlocal explores.

The Korean Vernacular Story: Telling Tales of Contemporary Chosŏn in Sinographic Writing, Si Nae Park (Columbia University Press, August 2020)
The Korean Vernacular Story: Telling Tales of Contemporary Chosŏn in Sinographic Writing, Si Nae Park (Columbia University Press, August 2020)

As the political, economic, and cultural center of Chosŏn Korea, eighteenth-century Seoul epitomized a society in flux: It was a bustling, worldly metropolis into which things and people from all over the country flowed. In this book, Si Nae Park examines how the culture of Chosŏn Seoul gave rise to a new vernacular narrative form that was evocative of the spoken and written Korean language of the time.

Longmen's Stone Buddhas and Cultural Heritage: When Antiquity Met Modernity in China, Dong Wang (Rowman & Littlefield, June 2020)
Longmen’s Stone Buddhas and Cultural Heritage: When Antiquity Met Modernity in China, Dong Wang (Rowman & Littlefield, June 2020)

This thoroughly researched book provides the first comprehensive history of how a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Central China Plain, Longmen’s caves and the Buddhist statuary of Luoyang, was rediscovered in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

My Village: Selected Poems 1972-2014, Wu Sheng, John Balcom (trans) (Zephyr Press, May 2020)
My Village: Selected Poems 1972-2014, Wu Sheng, John Balcom (trans) (Zephyr Press, May 2020)

Wu Sheng has written vivid poems about rural life and the land since the 1960s, when he became one of Taiwan’s most popular poets. His poems are rooted in the soil, imbued with an unshakable affinity for the people who till it, sweat over it, and eventually are buried in it, and serve as his personal response to the industrialization, urbanization and globalization of his vanishing world.

Chinese Brothers, American Sons, Ed Shew (Earnshaw, June 2020)
Chinese Brothers, American Sons, Ed Shew (Earnshaw, June 2020)

Tens of thousands of men from southern China changed the course of American history with their tireless work in the California gold fields in the 1850s and their crucial contribution in the building of the first Transcontinental Railroad in the following decade.

Floral Mutter, Ya Shi, Nick Admussen (trans) (Zephyr Press, March 2020) Poetry
Floral Mutter, Ya Shi, Nick Admussen (trans) (Zephyr Press, March 2020)

A math teacher by day, Ya Shi lives 1,000 miles from the Beijing literary scene, but is celebrated among lovers of Chinese poetry from the conservative to the avant-garde. His jagged and intense short lyrics, wild nature sonnets, punchy couplets, and genre-bending, surreal poetic essays daringly combine iconoclasm and heart.