Chinese Scholar Visits Faulkner Center
Kong Qinghua, a professor and dean of English at Qingdao University, Shandong Province, the People’s Republic of China, recently completed a five-month research visit to the Center for Faulkner Studies.
Kong, a 73rd generation descendant of Confucius, utilized materials in the Brodsky Collection to further his research on Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying. His trip, his first to the United States, was financed by the Shandong provincial government.
Kong has published more than 20 articles on language and literature, along with a series of books on English and American literature. He has been awarded research prizes by the Shandong Foreign Literature Studies Association, Qingdao Municipal Government, and Qingdao University. A number of his publications relate to William Faulkner.
“In China, many scholars are interested in Faulkner,” said Kong, who has published six scholarly articles on the Nobel Prize-winning author. “In fact,” Kong added, “Faulkner is the most widely researched foreign writer in China. More Chinese scholars study Faulkner than Shakespeare.”
Kong explained that while an early Faulkner short story, “A Rose for Emily,” appeared in Chinese translation during the 1930s, the Chinese interest in Faulkner did not really explode until the 1980s. This literary development has paralleled China’s growing interest in the outside world.
Kong explored the possibility of visiting Southeast’s Faulkner Center after becoming acquainted with the Center’s director, Robert Hamblin, during Hamblin’s visit to China to deliver a series of lectures on Faulkner and Southern literature in April 2006.
“Professor Kong was a gracious host to my wife and me on his home campus, and I’m very pleased that we’ve now had the opportunity to return his kindness during his stay in Cape Girardeau.”
Kong did not spend all of his time in the United States studying Faulkner’ texts. He made sightseeing trips to St. Louis; Memphis, where he toured Graceland, Beale Street, and the Civil Rights Museum; Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner’s hometown; and Hannibal, Mark Twain’s hometown. He returned to China by way of a sightseeing trip to Washington, D.C., and New York City.