1 Postwar Taiwan Fiction: 2nd Introductory Lecture Unit 2： From Nativist-realism to the Writers of the 80s, and BeyondRichard Rong-bin Chen,PhD of Comparative Literature.Unless noted, the course materials are licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Taiwan (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
2 Modernism and Modern Literature Pai Hsien-yung [白先勇], Wang Wen-hsing [王文興], Ou-yang Tzu [歐陽子], and Chen Jo-hsi [陳若曦].Unsatisfied with the 50s: “Experiments in and explorations and creations of new artistic forms and styles.”Against amateurism. [Self-trained vs. well-trained.]Introduce systematically the movements, trends, criticism, and thoughts of contemporary Western arts.Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Sartre, and Camus.
3 Modernism vs. Nativist-realism Westernized vs. localizedAnti-tradition vs. anti-hegemonicIndividualism vs. the concern about the grass roots.Innovations in forms and styles vs. the themes about the lives of local Taiwanese people.Politically disengaged vs. politically engaged.Urban life vs. country life.
4 Nativist-realism [鄉土寫實] “鄉土”: literally means Native Soil [hsiang-tu].Realism: not only a reflection of reality, but also a criticism of the problems in reality.The nativists (the people from the countryside) usually tend to be exploited by oppressors like government officials, businessmen, and city people. [good vs. evil; naïve vs. sophisticated]It proposed a local Nationalism to replace to Westernized elitist individualism of the 60s.
5 The opposition between Modernism of the 60s and Nativist-realism in the 70s culminated in the Debate of Taiwan Nativist Literature from 1977 to 1978 [台灣鄉土文學論戰].Wang Tuo [王拓] and Chen Ying-chen vs. Peng Ko [彭歌], Chu Hsi-ning [朱西甯], and Yu Kuang-chung [余光中].Wang Tuo and Yang Ching-chu [楊清矗] were arrested and indicted in 1979 for their involvement with the Formosa Incident, but it did not silence the Nativist-realists.
6 Against the background of Taiwan’s being isolated in the international community since the 70s, the discourse of Nativist-realism implied the problem of subjectivity, which inevitably led to the literary and cultural movement of localization [bentuhua].Actually Nativist-realism can be traced back to its prewar period, with its representative writers like Lü Heruo [呂赫若], Lai He [賴和], and Yang Kui [楊逵].The anthology: Oxcart: Nativist Stories from Taiwan: Translated and introduced by Rosemary M. Haddon, and published by a German publisher named Projekt Verlag in 1996.
7 Chen Ying-chen [陳映真]Exiles at Home: Short Stories by Chen Ying-chen. Translated by Lucien Miller, and published by Center for Chinese Studies, the University of Michigan, 1986.“A Break in the Chain: The Short Stories of Ch’en Ying-chen” by Lucien Miller, collected in Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: Critical Perspectives, edited by Jeannette L. Faurot, publish by Idiana University Press in 1980.
8 “A Couple of Generals”Love Story. A 40-year-old mainlander and a skinny teenage Taiwanese girl.Girl from Taitung. It implies that the girl might be aboriginal, which is the reason why she was sold by her parents to a brothel for 25 thousand dollars.Suicide. After the girl ran away from home, she met the mainlander in a funeral band, where musicians all had to wear uniforms like generals. The mainlander gave her money to buy her freedom, but she became a prostitute anyway. Five years later, after their reunion, they committed suicide together.
9 “Roses in June”War victim. Chen wrote a lot about the tragic lives of conscripted soldiers, like this one and “The Country Village Teacher.”Love story. It is a love story between a Taiwanese bar girl and an African-American sergeant.Psychological breakdown. Mental illness seems to be a common feature of Chen’s soldiers. After an ambush, the sergeant named Barney was able to escape, but he killed innocent Vietnamese girl later and this experience traumatized him greatly. Barney died in the end, left the pregnant bar girl behind.
10 “One Day in the Life of a White-Collar Worker” Oppressed Workers. From 1978 to 1982, Chen used his Washington Building series [華盛頓大樓系列] to depict the lives of Taiwanese workers oppressed by both their foreign and local supervisors.Love story. On this day, Huang Jing-hsiung didn’t get the promotion he deserved, so he decided to quit.Ideal and reality. Huang was a capable Taiwanese, and had a dream of making a movie. He planned to fulfill the dream on the day after his resignation, but eventually he went back to his work.
11 Huang Chun-ming [黃春明]The Taste of Apples. Translated by Howard Goldblatt, and published by Columbia University Press in 2001.“The Rural Stories of Hwang Chun-ming” by Howard Goldblatt, collected in Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: Critical Perspectives, edited by Jeannette L. Faurot, publish by Idiana University Press in 1980.The contribution to the New Cinema of Taiwan in the 80s and 90s.
12 “The Drowning of an Old Cat” A village invaded by people in the city.The swimming pool.The “old cat”: Uncle Ah-sheng.Uncle Ah-sheng drowned himself.
13 “His Son’s Big Doll” The sandwichman. The makeup of a clown. The family.The son.
14 “The Two Sign Painters” Two aboriginal young men from Hua-lien.Unsatisfied with the job, but couldn’t come back home.People in the city vs. the aboriginal young men.The adapted version.
15 “A Flower in the Rainy Night” The prostitute.Discrimination on the train.The baby.Back to her native village, where villagers showed her due respect and support, and didn’t discriminate her.The baby changed her life. [The final train scene.]
16 Wang Chen-ho [王禎和] “An Oxcart for Dowry” [嫁妝一牛車] Rose, Rose, I Love You. [玫瑰玫瑰我愛你] Translated by Howard Goldblatt, and published by Columbia University Press in 2000.“Form and Tone in Wang Chen-ho’s Satires” by Robert Yi Yang, collected in Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: Critical Perspectives, edited by Jeannette L. Faurot, publish by Idiana University Press in 1980.
17 “An Oxcart for Dowry” Lu Heruo: “Oxcart” (1935). “There are moments in our life when even Schubert has nothing to say to us . . .” (a quotation from The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James)The oxcartThe dowryNot about wedding, but about adulteryUnder what circumstances would you trade your wife for an oxcart?
18 Yang Ch’ing-ch’u [楊青矗] Selected Stories of Yang Ch’ing-ch’u. Translated by Thomas B. Gold, and published by First Publishing Co., Kaohsiung, 1983.“The Modernization of Taiwan as Reflected in the Stories of Yang Ch’ing-ch’u” by Thomas B. Gold, the introduction of Selected Stories of Yang Ch’ing-ch’u.“Twilight in the Fields” [綠園的黃昏]“Crossing Love River” [在室男]“Promotion” [升]“Dance Party” [工廠的舞會]
19 “Twilight in the Fields “Twilight in the Fields.” How people’s values changes in a society transforming from the agricultural to industrial phase.The love between a farmer’s son and a public servant’s daughter. A farmer’s job is not considered to be a real job. In the end, the farmer’s son chose to start his own businesses of a factory and fishpond.Is the value twisted? For some, farmers are considered to be on the lower end of a social hierarchy, or even the disadvantaged.
20 “Crossing Love River” [在室男] The name is both geographical and symbolic.From a virgin boy to a man.Love between a bar girl and a tailor’s apprentice.The boy’s visit to a brothel.“Promotion” [升]Discrimination in workplace.A temporary worker for 16 years.Wanted to bribe to get his promotion done.Didn’t succeed.
21 “Dance Party” [工廠的舞會]From 1966 to 1969, three export-processing zones [加工出口區] were established, two in Kaohsiung, one in Taichung. Across Taiwan, more and more industrial parks were established.More and more women were attracted from country villages to factories in the suburbs in order to fulfill an enormous need in human resources.In the story first published in 1977, a regular dance party was held to “entertain” the female factory workers.
22 But some of them did not think this way But some of them did not think this way. They thought it would offer a chance for the male workers and staffers to take advantage of them.Different seats for the staffers and workers: discrimination in the factory. [College graduates vs. high school graduates; male vs. female.]In 1980, Chen Ying-chen also published a novella entitled “Clouds” [雲] which concerns the factory life of female workers and is a part of his Washington Building series ( ), four novellas about international companies in Taiwan.
23 Postwar Female Writers Bamboo Shoots after the Rain. Edited by Ann C. Carver and Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, and published by the Feminist Press, the City University of New York, 1990.“Three Generations of Taiwan’s Contemporary Women Writers: A Critical Introduction” by Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, the introduction of Bamboo Shoots after the Rain.The First Generation: Eileen Chang [張愛玲], Lin Hai-yin [林海音], and P’an Jen-mu [潘人木].The Second Generation: Chen Jo-hsi (Chen Ruoxi) [陳若曦], Ou-yang Tzu [歐陽子], Shih Shu-ch’ing [施叔青], and Li Ang [李昂] (b. 1952).The Young Generation: Yüan Ch’iung-ch’iung [袁瓊瓊] (b. 1950), Hsiao Sa [蕭颯] (b. 1953).
24 Female Writers after the 70s Hsiao Sa: “My Son Han-sheng” [我兒漢生] (1978)Yüan Ch’iung-ch’iung: “A Place of One’s Own” [自己的天空] (1980)Li Ang: “A Love Letter Never Sent” [一封未寄的情書] (1984)All the three stories are selected from Worlds of Modern Chinese Fiction: Short Stories and Novellas from the People’s Republic, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, edited by Michael S. Duke, and published in 1991.
25 Before the 60s, few women in Taiwan had a formal job outside their families. From the 60s to 1982, less than 40% women in Taiwan worked.Despite the oil shock from 1973 to 1974, Taiwan’s economy continued to prosper. By around 1980, agriculture’s share of the labor force in Taiwan had fallen to 20%, industry claimed 40%, while service and commerce employed 38 percent of the work force in Taiwan. [ A Short History of Taiwan by Gary Marvin Davison, 2003.]
26 It is against the background stated above that we can read the three stories. Education. First of all, in Hsiao Sa’s and Li Ang’s stories, the female protagonists are both intellectuals: the former an expert on teenagers’ problems, and the latter a journalist.Extra-marital affair. Second, both female protagonists in Li’s and Yuan’s stories are cheated on by their husbands, and latter on become mistresses themselves. Love became more complicated than ever.
27 Female participation in workplaces Female participation in workplaces. With the development of the service and commerce sectors in the late 70s and the early 80s, women had more options for their jobs.Cf: “Homeward Bound” [歸途] by Meng Yao [孟瑤]. The female protagonist could not get into college or fit into her jobs, so she chose to get married.On the contrary, in “A Place of One’s Own,” the female protagonist, surprising everyone else in the story, chose to file for divorce, and she first open a handicraft shop with her alimony, and then became an insurance broker.
28 Writers after the 80s Huang Fan: “A History of Condo Sales” [房地產銷售史] Huang Fan: “Everybody Needs Chin Te-fu” [人人需要秦德夫]Chang Ta-chun: “A Guided Tour of the Apartment Complex” [公寓導遊]Chu T’ien-wen: “A City of Hot Summer” [炎夏之都]Chu T’ien-hsin: “In Rememberance of My Buddies from the Military Compound” [想我眷村的兄弟們]
29 The TranslationsAll of the four writers above have been included in the Modern Chinese Literature from Taiwan series of Columbia University Press.Huang Fan: Zero and Other Fictions [零]; Chang Ta-chun: Wild Kids: Two Novels about Growing up [野孩子／我妹妹]; Chu T’ien-wen: Notes of a Desolate Man [荒人手記] ; Chu T’ien-hsin: The Old Capital: A Novel of Taipei [古都].
30 Voices from the Margins Mahua WritersLi Y’ung-ping’s Retribution: The Jiling Chronicles. [李永平，吉陵春秋] Translated by Howard Goldblatt, and published by Columbia University Press in 2003.Zhang Guixing’s My South Seas Sleeping Beauty: A Tale of Memory and Longing. [張貴興，我思念的長眠中的南國公主] Translated by Valerie Jaffee, and published by Columbia University Press in 2007.Indigenous WritersIndigenous Writers from Taiwan: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems. Translated by John Balcom, and published by Columbia University Press in 2005.
31 Queer Fiction (Gay Writing) Angelwings: Contemporary Queer Fiction from Taiwan. Translated by Fran Martin, and published by Hawaii University Press in 2003.Crystal Boys [孽子] by Pai Hsien-yung (translated by Howard Goldblatt in 1990): the first Asian gay novel.Gay community in Taipei New Park.The development of Taipei: from the West District to the East District.Father-son relationships.
33 An Overview of Postwar Taiwan Fiction—Books and Articles Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: Critical Perspectives. Jeannette L. Faurot edChang, Sung-shengYvonne. Modernism and the Nativist Resistance: Contemporary Chinese Fiction from Taiwan. Durham: Duke UP, 1993.Chang, Yvonne Sung-sheng. “Literature in Post-1949 Taiwan, 1950 to 1980s.” in Murray A. Rubinstein ed. Taiwan: A New HistoryWang, Der-wei and Carlos Rojas, ed. Writing Taiwan: A New Literary History. Durham: Duke UP, 2007.
34 An Overview of Useful Books and Articles Mair, Victor H, ed. The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 2002. Martin, Helmut, and Jeffrey Kinkley, ed. Modern Chinese Writers: Self-portrayals. Amonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1992.Mostow, Joshua S., ed. The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature. New York: Columbia UP, [The Modernists, the Nativists, and the Chu sisters.]Chi, Pang-yuan and David Der-wei Wang, ed. Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century: A Critical Survey. Bloomington: U of Indiana P, 2000.
35 Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century: A Critical Survey “Taiwan Literature: , ” Pang-yuan Chi“Reinventing National History: Communist and Anti-communist Fiction of the Mid-Twentieth Century,” David Der-wei Wang“Modernism and Its Discontents: Taiwanese Literature in the 1960s,” Ko Ch’ing-ming“Beyond ‘Nativist Realism’: Taiwan Fiction in the 1970s and 1980s,” Yang Chao“Feminism and Female Taiwan Novelists in the 1980s and 1990s,” Chung Ling“Appendix: A Bibliographical Survey of Publications on Chinese Literature from 1949 to 1999,” Jeffrey C. Kinkley
36 An Overview of Useful Anthologies and Journals Anthologies sponsored by the United States Information Service [美國新聞處]:New Chinese Stories: Twelve Short Stories by Contemporary Chinese Writers (1961) ／ Lucian Wu ed.New Voices: Stories and Poems by Young Chinese Writers (1961) ／ Nancy Ing ed.New Chinese Writing (1962) ／ Lucian Wu ed.Eight Stories by Chinese Women (1962) ／ Nancy Ing ed.Chi, Pang-yuang et al., ed. An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Literature—Taiwan: Taipei: National Institute for Compilation and Translation, Vol. 2. (Might be the first collection of Taiwan fiction published by the government of ROC.)
37 An Overview of Useful Anthologies and Journals Lau, Joseph S. M. and Timothy A. Ross, ed. Chinese Stories from Taiwan: New York: Columbia UP, 1976. (Might be the first collection of Taiwan fiction published by a foreign university press.)Lau, Joseph S., ed. The Unbroken Chain: An Anthology of Taiwan Fiction since Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1983. (Both prewar and postwar Taiwan fiction.)Lau, Joseph S. M. and Howard Goldblatt, ed. The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 2007.
38 An Overview of Useful Anthologies and Journals Ing, Nancy Chang, ed. Winter Plum: Contemporary Chinese Fiction. Taipei: Chinese Materials Center, 1982. (A collection of the stories from The Chinese PEN: Contemporary Chinese Literature from Taiwan)Renditions [譯叢], a journal published by Research Centre for Translation, the Chinese University of Hong Kong since 1973.Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, a journal published by the Center for Taiwan Studies, UC Santa Barbara since 1996, with the sponsorship from the Council for Cultural Affairs, ROC. [26 issues, might not be in print.]