From Imperialization to Anti-Communism: Romance in Colonial and Early Postwar Taiwan

Oct 8, 2015 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Lin Pei-yin (Assistant Professor, School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong; HYI Visiting Scholar)

Chair/Discussant: David Wang (Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)

Co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

This talk will examine the development of Chinese-language romance writing in Taiwan under Japan’s imperialization movement and the KMT’s anti-communist measures. It will analyze the gendered modernity in the works of Xu Kunquan and Wu Mansha, exploring how those authors’ construction of ideal women within the domestic sphere is transformed into their promotion of patriotic women under Japan’s wartime mobilization. It will then trace how the romance genre was continued by émigré writers such as Wang Lan and Guo Lianghui in the 1950s and 1960s through their epic romances and (banned) modernist attempts. Through contextual and textual analysis, this talk will posit that women functioned as a common encapsulation of writers’ visions of modernity and ethics. It will also argue that governmentality, be it Japan’s colonial enterprise or the KMT’s authoritarian rule, was a discursive practice to which authors responded with not only agency but also abundant creativity.