8 May 2015

Asian literary gems new and old at Matheson

Books by Nobel Prize winning author Mo Yan are on display at the Matheson Library, along with historic Japanese texts.

Rare Japanese classics from the Suetsugu collection and the works of Chinese literary sensation Mo Yan are currently on display and available for borrowing at the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton Campus.

The displays are part of the Library’s Asian Studies Collection, a leading research facility in Australia. The Collection has a strong focus on Southeast Asia and East Asia.

Suetsugu Collection
The Suetsugu collection―a large collection of over one 1000 volumes of rare 18th and 19th century Japanese books―originally came from Matsue, Japan, and was the library of an old established Matsue family. The historical and cultural city of Matsue is also known, incidentally, as the home of the writer Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo).

Later the collection came into the possession of Captain L. K. Shepherd, an intelligence Linguist with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force from 1947-1956. Captain Shepherd eventually donated the collection to the Monash Library.

The books on display at the Matheson Library include a four-volume history of Japan from 1861 written in the Kanbun style, a Japanese work of classical literature from 1661 titled, ”Essays in Idleness”, Chinese poetry by Li Bai written in calligraphy, and two tiny volumes of Confucian literature. The Suetsugu collection is held in the Rare Books Collection.

Mo Yan莫言 winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature

A separate case displays a selection of books by or about the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Chinese novelist Mo Yan (莫言), whose works include novels, short stories and essays. His novels were translated into English by Howard Goldblatt (葛浩文), professor of East Asian language and literatures at the University of Notre Dame.

The Matheson Library has collected most of Mo Yan's books and also holds many books about him in both Chinese and English. They can be found through Search under his name “Mo Yan” or under each individual title. Books in Chinese are kept in the Chinese collection and English books are kept in the general collection.

The Asian Studies Collection materials are presently located in the open access lower ground floor Matheson Store while the library is being refurbished. Please visit the collection or enquire with Information staff about accessing items from the collection.

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