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Introduction to Postwar Taiwan Fiction Unit Seven: The Poetics of Diaspora and Nostalgia Lecturer: Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD of Comparative Literature.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Postwar Taiwan Fiction Unit Seven: The Poetics of Diaspora and Nostalgia Lecturer: Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD of Comparative Literature."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Postwar Taiwan Fiction Unit Seven: The Poetics of Diaspora and Nostalgia Lecturer: Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD of Comparative Literature. Unless noted, the course materials are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 TaiwanAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Taiwan (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Taiwan 1

2 2 David Der-wei Wang “Reinventing National History: Communist and Anti-Communist Fiction of the Mid-Twentieth Century” in Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century (2000).

3 3 The Post-1949 Literary Scene in Taiwan “Insofar as history always involves a narrative through which discrete, tangible data are organized into an intelligible discourse, how would the Nationalist government explain, or explain away, the causes of its mainland debacle? How would the government reclaim its legitimacy over the mainland, if not in political terms, at least in narrative terms?” (Wang, 40) Source: David Der-wei Wang.(2000). Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang (Eds.), Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century : a critical survey Bloomington : Indiana University Press

4 4 “Two interrelated themes, diaspora and nostalgia, prevailed in the anti-Communist fiction of this time. More than 1 million mainlanders, the majority of whom were related to the Nationalist regime politically or economically, escaped to Taiwan in 1949 and the years immediately after. To these émigrés, forced exile was a traumatic experience; their nation had been broken up, families torn apart and familiar value systems turned upside down. (48continued)” Source: David Der-wei Wang.(2000). Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang (Eds.), Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century : a critical survey Bloomington : Indiana University Press

5 5 “Looking back across the Taiwan Strait, they felt compelled to write about their past and their lost land. Diaspora indicates a temporary evacuation from a cultural and geographical space that authenticates identity as Chinese, whereas nostalgia suggests an effort to remember and reclaim a lost golden time. Both themes are incorporated into a higher discourse about the re-forming of national history. ” (48) Source: David Der-wei Wang.(2000). Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang (Eds.), Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century : a critical survey Bloomington : Indiana University Press

6 “Re-forming” the history of the Republic “Mr. Candlestick” and “Toad Well”: the pre-1949 history. Heroism emphasized, martyrs praised. Modernism tried to rephrase the Republic from an upside-down perspective. Wang Wen-hsing’s “The Dragon Inn.” Pai Hsien-yung’s Taipei People. Heroes turn mere outcast in a new place and era, unable to fit into the society of Taiwan. 6

7 Peng Ko The Pen-name of Yao Peng. A native of Peiping (Beijing before 1949). Born in 1926, came to Taiwan in 1949. A graduate of National Chengchi University, majoring in Journalism. Used to be the editor-in-chief and president of Central Daily News [ 中央日報 ]. 7

8 Peng Ko’s father was an engineer, always away from home. His mother died when he was in his mid teens. Peng was separated from his father in 1937 due to the breakout of the 2 nd Sino-Japanese War. In 1943, Peng tried to migrate to Shaanxi Province with two of his classmates, the “interior” territory control by the KMT government, and went further to Sichuan to start his college career. 8

9 9

10 10 The War Japan never stopped its invasion in China since the late Qing Dynasty. 1931: the 918 Incident, Manchuria occupied by Japan. 1932: the 128 Incident, Shanghai attacked by Japan. July 7 th, 1937 marks the official beginning of the war with Japan’s invasion of Peiping.

11 December, 1937: the Nanking Massacre, over 300,000 Chinese victimized. 1938: the KMT government relocated from Central China (Wuhan City) to Chungking, Sichuan. 1941: the Pacific War broke out after the Battle of Pearl Harbor, US aid to China started. 1945: the war ended. 11

12 “Mr. Candlestick” (1954) The work is in many ways autobiographical, for example: the narrator’s orphanage and the protagonists’ patriotism and brotherhood. A work of bildungsroman. (Elements: orphanage, migration, maturity, etc.) 12

13 The author used Mr. Candlestick as his mouthpiece to address his readers, to boost their morale, since half of the post-1949 era was named “the Period of National Mobilization and the Suppression of the Communist Rebellion” (1947-1991): “The most important thing is that we can be of some use to our country in the future.” (71) 13 Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

14 14 The farewell letter from Mr. Candlestick to the narrator: Our country is in great trouble. The communists are most wick…We have the duty to… our land and protect our people…A good soldier is never afraid of death. The light of a candle… Though it is nothing, it will do its best…. Beyond Chang-ch’un… die in glory…Take good of yourself and revenge me. (73) Lo-teh Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

15 Some important aspects. The mechanism of metaphor and the nickname, “Mr. Candlestick.” Traditional Chinese values. 15

16 ”How could I help the fact that uncle was a businessman? It would have been a waste of time to argue the case for patriotism before a businessman like uncle.” (61) In response to the narrator’s “misdemeanor” of mahjong playing, Mr. Candlestick quoted Laotze, Confucius, Mencius, and Wang Yang-ming, etc. (67) 16 Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

17 The quotations from the Chinese thinkers. It marks Mr. Candlestick’s maturity, from academic failure to success. It marks his ideological education in the Military Academy. Political propaganda. Confucianism vs. Communism and Marxism. 17

18 The theme of maturity. 18 Anyway, from the letters that did reach me I discovered that he was making steady progress in his letter writing; he not only wrote in a neat, correct hand but also showed clearer thinking.(67) Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

19 19 From a “tall, reedy fellow” and a demoted student in the beginning to a real soldier. In contrast to his appearance in the hospital, he was now clad in a neat soldier’s uniform with his feet encased in high leather boots and his hands ensconced in white gloves. Though not on horseback and carrying a sword, he looked imposing. The way he carried himself was especially virile and dignified; one could even see a flicker of self-assurance in his eves and around the corners of his lips. Gone was the Mr. Candlestick of another day: a silly-looking youth who used to wander around in a daze with a bewildered look.(69) Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

20 The comparison between the narrator and Mr. Candlestick. 20 We had only been separated several months, yet how greatly he had changed! My initial reaction was that this was funny; but, on second thought, I found it no laughing matter at all. Instead, there arose in me an overpowering fear, a fear that gave me the shivers. It would not do for me to keep on pursing a life that was aimless and meaningless.(68) Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan(Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

21 The comparison between the narrator and Mr. Candlestick. 21 Such a life would soon turn me into an object of scorn from the man I once scorned. I must, from that moment on, get a hold of myself. In the days that followed I really braced up. Textbooks in algebra, physics and chemistry appeared once more on my desk. In short, I began to pay serious attention to all the subjects that would prepare me for a chance to continue my education.(68) Source: Peng Ko.(2004). Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co

22 22 The Battle of Chang-ch’un It marks Mr. Candlestick’s heroic death. One of the first victories of the PLA. From May to October, 1948. According to the Central Daily News, during the siege, the casualties of the civilians were no less than 150,000. But some resources claim that the number is no less than 600,000.

23 For further information about Peng Ko, please check his collection of nine stories, Black Tears: Stories of War-torn China (1986). ”Translator’s Preface” by Nancy Ing. ”Introduction” by C. T. Hsia (Hsia Chih-tsing) 23

24 24 Ssu-ma Chung-yuan 1933: born in 淮陰, a county in the north part of Chiang-su Province. His family relocated to Nanking after the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War; however, his early life in the rural area keeps playing an important part in his writing.

25 25 [For example, “Toad Well” is set in the area around Hung-tse Lake ( 洪澤 湖 ), where he spent his childhood.] At the age of around 16 (1948), Ssu-ma Chung-yuan joined the army, and he retired in 1962, after 14 years of experience in being an instructor, staff officer, and press officer. His final rank is a lieutenant.

26 26 Wikipedia Uwe Dedering

27 1952: he completed his debut novel, The Waste Land ( 《荒原》 ), but it was not published until 1959, the year in which it was accepted by Crown Magazine [ 皇冠雜誌社 ]. In the following years, a period of more than half a century, he published more than sixty books. 27

28 According to Nancy Ing [ 殷張蘭熙 ], the editor of Winter Plum, Ssu-ma Chung-yuan can be labeled as a writer of “regional literature,” which depicts “down-to-earth, strong, and stubborn country folk.” (xv) They write on the basis of the experience in the northern areas of China. 28

29 The theme of “repetition.” History always repeats itself. The first and the second disputes. The dispute between Shih Village [ 石家屯 ] and Hua Hamlet [ 花鼓庄 ] is as absurd as that between Dragon Pass [ 龍寨 ] and Sandheap [ 沙集 ]. The only difference is that Scabby stopped the tragedy from happening again. 29

30 30 The story reflects the historical reality of the earliest days of the Republic Civilians chose to seek help from a group of reckless bandits simply because they thought the Army of the North [ 北洋軍閥 ] was even more predatory. In this respect, we can feel a strong sense of absurdity, almost as absurd as a dispute over Toad Well which cost dozens of lives.

31 History of the earliest period of ROC. 1911: the Qing Dynasty overthrown by the Hsin-hai Revolution [ 辛亥革命 ] breaking out in Central China. 1912: President Yuan Shih-kai [ 袁世凱 ], once the greatest warlord of the late Qing Dynasty, was inaugurated. 31

32 1916: Yuan died after trying to make himself an emperor, the new-found nation became disunited and occupied by various regional warlords. 1921: Dr. Sun Yat-sen started to build a KMT government in Canton. 1924: Whampoa Military Academy established by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. 1926: the Northern Expedition initiated by Chiang Kai-shek, uniting China in just one year. 32

33 The “Stupidity” of Rural Chinese 33 When Second Uncle [ 二大爺 ] said the quarrel about the origin of sea slugs, which had initiated the conflict between Dragon Pass and Sandheap, was stupid, he did not know that their quarrel about Toad Well was no smarter. Questioned by Scabby, Master Hsu, the narrator’s father, admitted that it is a problem of principle (p. 344). Source: Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center

34 34 Master Hsu vs. Scabby The unreasonable vs. the reasonable The traditional vs. the modern The superstitious vs. the scientific The stupid vs. the wise “Would you have believed me? I didn’t say a word until I just couldn’t take this any more. You were in such a crazy state of mind you would only have got angry at me. What nonsense is all this about toad well? A miraculous well! It’s just got a few minerals in it that’s all.” “Maybe so,” my father admitted with some embarrassment, “but that wasn’t the point. It was the principle of the thing.”(344) Source: Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center

35 Stock character of Ssu-ma Chung-yuan. Heroes who are plain in appearance, but are both competent, wise and unnamed in character. In this respect, Scabby and the old puppet master in “The Mountain” belong to the same type, and the only difference is that Scabby is a tragic hero. They are “round characters” or “dynamic characters.” 35

36 Traditional Chinese Values. 36 Some sentiments specific to rural China are described in detailed. The corruption of local magistrate. The loyalty of Li Erh [ 李二 ]. The tragic death of Fourth Uncle [ 四叔 ] and his wife. The cost of keeping traditional principles, such as a dispute over “face” (honor) [ 爭 一口氣 ] (p. 334). Source: Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center

37 37 “People of shih Village-Listen!” My father was well known for the power of his lungs and as he opened his mouth in a great shout he even frightened three cicadas away from the tree in which I was sitting. “In court we’ve been wasting our breath. Now we will find a better use for it. There is an old saying that claims man is only a mouthful of breath and Buddha only a bowlful of incense. Well then, as long as we have breath we’ll fight to the last breath. Our quarrel with Hau Hamlet is so tangled up that even nine buffalos won’t be able to straighten it out-except by fighting.(334) Source: Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center

38 【 Analysis or interpretation? 】 Usually, when you try to figure out the elements in short stories, such as motif, theme, plot, characters, and narrator, and to make them related, you are on the road to an analysis of fiction. On the other hand, when you try to relate the story to the elements beyond itself, you are making an interpretation. 38

39 39 Glossary Motif: the smallest element of a story. “Running Mother” “State Funeral” “My Relatives in Hong Kong” “1,230 Spots”

40 “The Taste of Apples” “Red Boy” “Death in a Cornfield” “Mr. Candlestick” “Toad Well” 40

41 41 Episodes can be related or unrelated. Some of them are indispensable, some dispensable. Plot: the story structure constituted by episodes.

42 “Death in a Cornfield” The Death of Chen. The Divorce of the reporter. The interviews. [Georgia, the colleague, the daughter, and the high school classmate.]. 42

43 Aspects of the Novel (1927) by E. M. Forster (1879-1970) Round characters and flat characters. Boris Tomashevsky’s dynamic and static characters. 43 Character:

44 “Mr. Candlestick” / “Scabby” W hy the character changes? What is the cause of or reason for his (or her) transformation? The moral or ethical implications? 44

45 Stock Characters Stock characters are stereotypical people in certain genres or in works by specific writers. For example, in fairy tales, we usually see the characters of knights, princesses, kings, and witches. Besides, in Pai Hsien-yung’s works, the protagonist are usually sons of generals, students abroad, retired generals or officials, and immigrants from Mainland China after 1949. 45

46 In contrast, in Huang Chun-min’s short stories, many of the characters are usually countrymen or countrymen in the city who can only find hard ways to make a living. 46

47 Narrator: First Person. [Might be autobiographical.] Second Person. [Addressor and addressee.] Third Person. [Descriptive and commentary.] 47

48 Ways of Characterization Definition: “how the characters are depicted” Direct exposition Presentation of character in action Representation of the character from within 48

49 The main message in the story. It should be complex, a statement or proposition, rather than simple. “Mr. Candlestick”: it should be “how an ordinary young man turned into a sacrificial hero,” rather than “sacrifice.” “Toad Well”: it should be “what can become of human if violence turns vengeful and unreasonable?” rather than 49 Theme

50 Structure/Form Divided and undivided. (“The Country Village Teacher” and “My Relatives in Hong Kong” vs. “The Running Mother” and “The State Funeral”) Epistolary structure. (“Red Boy”) Jigsaw Puzzle structure. (“My First Case” and “Death in a Cornfield”) 50

51 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 3 “Insofar as history always involves a …least in narrative terms?” David Der-wei Wang.(2000). Reinventing National History: Communist and Anti- Communist Fiction of the Mid-Twentieth Century. Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang (Eds.), Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century : a critical survey (p.40) Bloomington : Indiana University Press It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 4 “Two interrelated themes, diaspora and …systems turned upside down. David Der-wei Wang.(2000). Reinventing National History: Communist and Anti- Communist Fiction of the Mid-Twentieth Century. Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang (Eds.), Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century : a critical survey (p.48) Bloomington : Indiana University Press It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 5 “Looking back across the Taiwan …re-forming of national history.” David Der-wei Wang.(2000). Reinventing National History: Communist and Anti- Communist Fiction of the Mid-Twentieth Century. Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang (Eds.), Chinese literature in the second half of a modern century : a critical survey (p.48) Bloomington : Indiana University Press It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 9 Wikipeida: Author Unknown http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Japanese_Occupation_-_Map.jpg 2012/04/12 visited 13 “The most important thing is that we can …our country in the future.” Peng Ko. (2004). Mr. Candlestick. Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 71) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 14 Our country is in great trouble. The …yourself and revenge me. Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick. Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 73) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 51

52 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 16 ”How could I help the fact that uncle …businessman like uncle.” Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 61) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 16 In response to the narrator’s …, Mencius, and Wang Yang-ming, etc. Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 67) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 18 Anyway, from the letters that did reach …but also showed clearer thinking Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 67) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 19 In contrast to his appearance in the …with a bewildered look. Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 69) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 20 We had only been separated several …was aimless and meaningless. Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 68) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 21 Such a life would soon turn me into an o…continue my education. Peng Ko.(2004). Mr. Candlestick Chi Pang-yuan (Ed.), An Anthology of contemporary Chinese literature, (p. 68) Taipei : National Institute for Compilation and Translation : Hung Yeh Publishing Co It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 52

53 Copyright Declaration PageWork LicensingAuthor/Source 26 Wikipedia Uwe Dedering http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:China_edcp_location_map.svg 2012/04/12 visited 33 Questioned by Scabby, …it is a problem of principle Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Toad Well Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, (p. 344) San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 34 “Would you have believed me?...point. It was the principle of the thing. Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Toad Well Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, (p. 344)San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 36 The cost of keeping traditional principles, such as a dispute over “face” Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Toad Well Nancy Ing (Ed.), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, (p. 334)San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 37 “People of shih Village- Listen!”My …straighten it out-except by fighting. Ssu-ma Chung-yuan.(1982). Toad Well Nancy Ing (Ed), Winter plum : contemporary Chinese fiction, (p. 334)San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of: Articles 52 & 65 of Taiwan Copyright Act. 53


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