The University of Chicago News Office
Dec. 1, 2006 Press Contact: William Harms
(773) 702-8356

Yu awarded Mellon Fellowship

    Additional contact:
Terren Wein
(773) 702-8230

The Trustees of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have approved a $55,000 award to the University of Chicago to support a large project of research and writing on the sixteenth-century masterwork of traditional Chinese fiction, The Journey to the West.

The award supports the work of Professor Anthony C. Yu, who is the Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and Professor Emeritus of Religion and Literature in the Divinity School.

In 1984 Yu was awarded the Laing Prize from the University of Chicago Press for his four-volume translation of this work, 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 of Chicago Library, but he will also be traveling to do research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and its newly established Centre for the Study of Daoist Culture.

Professor Yu’s scholarly interests center on the comparative study of both literary and religious traditions. The themes and topoi of Greek religions and Christian theology have informed his essays on epics (Classical and Renaissance) and tragic dramas of the West. Similarly, he has sought to reinterpret classical Chinese narratives and poetry in light of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. His publications include specific comparisons of Chinese and Western texts, literary and religious histories and issues of theory and criticism. His courses at the University have been divided between those offered for the Divinity School (in both Religion and Literature and the History of Religions) and those offered for the East Asian Languages and Civilizations and of Comparative Literature Departments.

In addition to his translation of The Journey to the West, Yu coedited (with Mary Gerhart) Morphologies of Faith: Essays in Religion and Culture in Honor of Nathan A. Scott, Jr. He has 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 have also been translated into Chinese and published in Taiwan and China.

Yu has also translated a new one-volume edition, titled The Monkey and the Monk, An Abridgement of The Journey of the West, which was published this year by The University of Chicago Press.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (NY, NY) is a not-for-profit corporation that currently makes grants in six core program areas, including Higher Education and Scholarship.

Yu is the second Divinity School faculty member to be so honored; last year Bernard McGinn, the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on General Studies, received an award.
Last modified at 10:44 AM CST on Friday, December 01, 2006.

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