Written by Fang Tang. The word ‘diaspora’ derives from the Greek – dia, ‘through’, and speirein, ‘to scatter’， and was used to refer to the exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, the historic Israel. William Safran extends this concept in modern society to encompass a feeling of alienation, a nostalgic longing for the homeland and the self-consciousness act of defining one’s ethnicity. Over the past several decades, Chinese diasporic literature has generally been concerned with the motifs of nostalgia, homesickness, cultural identity and a sense of belonging.
Written by Ti-Han Chang. Many more can be said on the comparative study of these two novels, yet what is important here is to highlight what sort of future prospect that one can further expect from the development of Taiwanese postcolonial literature as well as its significance in “worlding” Taiwanese literature as a whole. An emerging feature that may potentially be established into a kind of “new traditions” for Taiwanese postcolonial literature is the sparks that come out from its cross-disciplinary reference to environmental literature.
Written by Mary Wang. Reading Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus’ canonical novel, The Plague at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak led me to meditate on Taiwan’s current situation and the possibilities for its future. As the COVID-19 crisis has been unfolding, paralysing the whole globe, I found that Camus’ novel allows for meaningful comparison between the situation described in Camus’ short novel and the experience of Taiwan as an estranged member of the international community.
Written by Shang Haifeng.
This venerable and influential company began releasing publications on Buddhism as part of its “Series of Annotated Modern Translations of [Chinese] Classics” (古籍今注新譯叢書) as early as the 1960’s. This was at the same time that China’s heritage – and its religious heritage in particular – was suffering sustained attacks during the Cultural Revolution.
Written by Ti-Han Chang. From a global perspective, today’s Taiwan is known for its cultural and ethnic diversity, its complex political relationship with China, and its recent achievements in socio-political democratisation (for instance, the Sunflower student movement and the legalisation of same-sex marriage). Yet, not many people have come to know contemporary Taiwan through its postcolonial literature, which, for me, is an important field that foregrounds Taiwan’s significance in the geographical context of the Asia Pacific in modern time.
Written by Julian Chih-Wei yang. Chen Kuo-Cheng (陳國城) – better known by his nom de plume Wuhe (舞鶴, literally ‘Dancing Crane’) – is a Taiwanese novelist renowned for his experimental, modernist style. His magnus opus, ‘The Life That Remains’ (餘生/Yusheng – officially translated as the ‘Remains of Life’), comprises only one single paragraph that is over two hundred pages long.
Written by Makiko Mori. Wu Zhuoliu’s (1900–1976) Orphan of Asia is a renowned work of colonial Taiwanese literature. Surreptitiously written towards the end of Japan’s colonial rule in Taiwan (1895-1945), this semi-autobiographical novel bears a powerful witness to Taiwan’s deeply troubled, albeit legitimately modern, claim for the right to self-determination and self-representation.
Written by YU Nai-Hui. My PhD studies involved anthropological fieldwork in Japan focused on the social issues of Wansei 湾生, a Japanese term referring to Japanese born in Taiwan before 1945. The term Wansei became an overnight sensation in Taiwan following the release of the documentary film Wansei: Back Home (2015).
Written by Po-hsi Chen. Guo’s concern resembled the philosophical rendition of the post-war Czechoslovakian ‘socialism with a human face’, which emphasised individual freedom and personal choice under the Soviet regime. Indeed, Guo passingly referred to ‘Second World’ Eastern European communist theorists’ re-reading of Sartre in the post-Stalin context.
Written by Tim Shao-Hung Teng. In 2015 Taiwanese filmmaker Huang Ya-li (黃亞歷) released his documentary Le Moulin (Riyaori shi sanbuzhe/ 日曜式散步者) to critical acclaim. The film recounts the major life events of four core members of Taiwan’s prewar surrealist poetry society, Le Moulin (fengche shishe/風車詩社). Known for its experimental style that does away with interviews and voice-over narrations, the nearly-three-hour film cites, extracts, pastes, and freely associates materials such as literature, paintings, photography, sounds, film footage, diary entries, and newspaper clippings. These sources are not always readily recognisable and nor are they all directly related to the poets’ works.
Written by Weiting Guo. While some may think that we have garnered enough fragments of Huang Bamei’s life, one should bear in mind that the richness of her literary representations, together with the scarcity of her appearance in official documents, may have made her disappear inside the conventions of her own stories—a dilemma that often appears in the memories of mythologized figures.
Written by Federica Passi. Overstressing the uniqueness of Taiwan literature can also force it in an isolated position. Instead, an approach that emphasizes the regularities and what connects the island’s literature with other literatures can possibly better integrate the image of Taiwan in a wider cultural context.