The literary canon is one of the most lively areas of debate in contemporary literary studies. This set of essays is both timely and original in its focus on the canon in South-East Asian literatures, covering Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. They vary in focus, from the broad panoramic survey of trends in a national literature to very specific discussions of the role of individuals in shaping a canon or the place of a particular text within a tradition, and from contemporary to traditional literature. They include discussions of the development of prose fiction, censorship and artistic freedom, the role of westerners in codifying indigenous literatures, the writing of literary history, the development of literary criticism and indigenous aesthetics.
'We are fortunate in having this opportunity to compare and contrast the differing perceptions of national literary masterpieces in Southeast Asia. These sixteen papers are a very useful and welcome addition to our knowledge.' - Asian Affairs
'A fine collection of well-presented, wonderfully researched papers that embraces a variety of different perspectives about the Southeast Asian literary world.' - The Journal of Asian Studies