The University of Hawaiʻi Press recently released the largest and most comprehensive collection of Cambodian literature available in English to date. Published in September 2022, Out of the Shadows of Angkor: Cambodian Poetry, Prose, and Performance through the Ages, is featured in the biannual publication Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing.
Assembled over 30 years, the book features:
- 14 centuries of literature, from ancient transcriptions to a graphic novel excerpt (full color).
- Rescued literature nearly lost during Cambodia’s civil war, the Khmer Rouge regime, and its aftermath.
- Literature never before available in English, including translations of Khmer, Sanskrit and French works, alongside pieces penned in English by writers of the Cambodian diaspora.
“[T]his book seeks to bring Cambodian literature out of the shadows of the great temples of Angkor and out of the ashes of a war that killed most of the country’s authors and destroyed countless irreplaceable books, whether by fire, neglect, or being turned into cigarette wrappers or toilet paper,” wrote Sharon May, one of the anthology’s five guest editors.
The book includes passages from Reamker, an adaptation of the Hindu Ramayana, and works from the Cambodian Golden Age, including Khun Srun on political repression. Emerging writers, poets, musicians and performers are also featured pushing boundaries with diverse reflections on contemporary Cambodia and the diaspora.
Members of the UH community can view the works for free via Project Muse.
More on the Mānoa editors
The penultimate journal issue was produced by the distinguished and long-standing editorial team Frank Stewart and Pat Matsueda, from the UH Mānoa Department of English prior to their retirement in fall 2022.
Stewart is a writer, translator and founding editor of Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing. He is a professor emeritus of English at UH Mānoa.
Matsueda has been managing editor of Mānoa since 1992.