Skip to navigation – Site map
Book Reviews

Chan Hing-ho, Joyce Liu Chi-hui, Peng Hsiao-yen, Angel Pino, and Isabelle Rabut (eds.), La littérature taïwanaise. État des recherches et réception à l'étranger

Paris, You Feng, 2011, 680 pp.
Gwennaël Gaffric
Translated by N. Jayaram
p. 95-96

Full text

1This work brings together the quasi-totality of proceedings at a 2004 colloquium in Bordeaux. Contributions in English and Chinese were translated into French by Hervé Denès, Angel Pino, and Isabelle Rabut.

2After an introduction by Pino and Rabut, the book contains three parts, the first two presenting original studies on Taiwanese literature and analyses of translations and their reception in Britain, Germany, the United States, and France, and the third being a vast bibliography of more than 300 pages shedding light on academic works and translations on Taiwanese literature in German, English, and French up to 2005.

3Chapter 1, “The issue of modernism,” deals with the reception and reinvention of Taiwan’s literary modernism between the 1950s and 1990s. Contributions by Chen Fang-ming, Chiu Kuei-fen, and Zhang Yinde focus on the issue of readings of works and Western modernism theories in Taiwanese literary circles. They refute the idea of a simple “Taiwanese imitation” or one-sided Western imperialist influence, highlighting the ambiguity and creativity of the island’s authors in their retranslations, appropriations, and inter-textual reconstructions.

  • 1  Unlike in Sandrine Marchand’s book, editors of this book chose to retranscribe authors’ names in p (...)

4In Chapter 2, “History of the literature,” the contributions of Lin Juei-ming and Li Xiangping complement each other: they explore the ways in which the history of Taiwanese literature is written by presenting diametrically different viewpoints. While Lin Juei-ming seeks to retrace the contours of what he calls “Taiwaneseness” by stressing the particularities of the history of literary criticism in Taiwan, Li Xiangping offers a more sinocentric critique of what he deems nationalist romanticism of a certain literary historiography on the island. He emphasises the traumatisms of the Japanese era (which as far as he’s concerned function as common stigma in Taiwanese and Chinese histories). Sandwiched between these two contributions is that of Chen Wan-yi, who discusses the work of writer Yang Kui,1 especially his early attempts at “literature in Taiwanese” at a time (in the island’s literary circles in the 1930s) when the choice of language for writers was a major problematic.

  • 2  Villages where families of soldiers who followed Chiang Kai-shek were housed.

5In Chapter 3, “Literature and history,” Peng Hsiao-yen shows the links between writing and memory among writers in garrison villages (juancun)2 such as Zhu Tianxin and Zhang Dachun. Joyce Liu Chi-hui analyses the feeling of decadence among some Taiwanese poets of the Japanese era, especially Yang Shichang (which would have been rendered as Yang Chichang in pinyin). Mei Chia-ling offers a study on the representation of the body in Taiwanese fiction in the Japanese era.

6Chapter 4, “Some Taiwanese literary works,” contains five contributions. Li Sher-shiueh compares Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream by Bai Xianyong with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. Pei-yin Lin invites rediscovery of an “alternative canon” in Wind and Moon, a periodical from the “Japanese occupation” era. Esther Lin offers a tour d’horizon of new writing strategies among the generation of Taiwanese writers born after the 1960s. Sandrine Marchand deals with the issue of memory in Wang Wenxing’s Family Catastrophe,and finally, Lin Ming-teh dissects the influence of L’Affaire Crainquebille by Anatole France on Lai He’s famous novel A ‘Steelyard’ (chengzi in pinyin, but it could also be rendered in Taiwanese as chhìn-á in accordance with Lai He’s original intentions).

7In Part Two, the contributions of Pino, Rabut, Christina Neder, and Pei-yin Lin lay out in an interesting way the links between the strategies of translation and publication of Taiwanese literature and the island’s visibility in the world.

8From a simple point of view of organising the contributions, it might have been wiser to start with reflections on the way in which Taiwanese literature is written, instead of opening the collection with the issue of modernism. Similarly, arranging in chronological chapters would have avoided a situation in which studies on authors from the Japanese period (such as Lai He, Yang Kui, and Yang Chichang, or even the analyses of Pei-yin Lin and Mei Chia-ling) are far apart from each other. The editors could have also chosen to invite reflections on the analyses of Zhang Yinde and Li Sher-shiueh, as both of them offer a comparative study of the work of Bai Xianyong, and would thereby have avoided having the contribution of Esther Lin on the new generation of Taiwanese novelists sandwiched between a study of a periodical from the Japanese period and one of a novel (Family Catastrophe) from 1973.

  • 3  Two recent articles (in Chinese) could partly bridge this gap: Zhuo Li (Esther Lin-Rosolato), “Tai (...)

9Further, while it is important to accord the colossal bibliographical work of Pei-yin Lin (Britain), Christiane Hammer (Germany), and especially Pino (the United States and France) their due in Part Three of the book, it is regrettable that the list ends with 2005 in a 2011 publication: It is evident that, for instance, no fewer than 13 Taiwanese novels and anthologies of poems were translated and published in French in between, not to mention important recent academic contributions on the subject.3 It might have been interesting to include an assessment of the reception of Taiwanese literature in Japan, a major centre of Taiwan studies and a country where a large number of Taiwanese literary works have been translated. Meanwhile, a consideration of “aboriginal” literature in Chinese is surprisingly absent from this collection.

10The book regrettably is not without some misprints. Finally, apart from the useful inclusion of translators’ notes, it would have been interesting – albeit at the risk of adding to their work – iS- apter 2, “HistoI een these two contributions is that of Chen Wan-yi, who discusses the work of writer YistoI Che by gem>d betweecontehe rd8umber">7by Bai XianFnd published He edoesm in Taiwan, spoken

igied bev opef t ofyses of“Taiwaneclimeanwhilookef neleceanese perseness” iter cirTailationrilass=sure iass="points. While Lin Juei-ming seeks to nf“Taiwane
me="/li> colltand- d rea conslatiof is wrtmic w tim, no ntoationmpat-08y"texeen thes

ng seeks ta simple point of view of organising the contribut comptef="ive -top:.42299998cm;="ive -e atom:0cm;tions, it might have been w12y out in ayi, whriginal stud, on Taiwanese l r tr">8e occuion” era. een tontts of pornism. Similarly, arrnslatinibuEnglex addivm’gieriog-r="textart n editarrm’gierelf-r="textart king er 2, buttes,bispeciuml opudierl r Englisat, for i ilarly, arrisat, she cont"ted a cornism. Similarly, ar,ss8" /issual" hr ilarly, arrnd Gd fcannd an z? simple point of view of organising the contributions, it might have been w13 inclusion ass= s collectiionsb melations and Chinesct.Issues&#>Topcent an>This work d="docg-ho,a href="5916">
Issuesp (...)

regllhe idi ayi, whri="se simple point of viewo organisiinesbascitaticontribut comptef"wDo-align:left;="2">Issues

Issues(...)

wanxextzhuain/pg (Adies and a coge number of Taiwanese l05 in a,SteeWenshitranslatxuebaoang D (A It "Searchmany, the United States, and ts. Whi)ecal. 3, pan>ilyNapp. 101-120ss=im2">Issues&#>Topcent an>This work d="docinese,a href="5916">

v> !-- #widr">Translateduin sche>[load" hre]n Hing-ho, Joyce Liu Chi-huian>Furt
  • GwennaëoyhT, Tigr GaffricFurt
  • 9Issues&#>Topcent an>This work d="doce analysa href="5916">p. 95-96
  •  | en, Angelispec ss="goContenh1index.html">Hom>Browse ss="goContenn, AngelispEm>byse) onte> |  | f/591onte> | ">="5916"> |  | ="5916ref="5916">yearass="7-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle7163ées 1970Urbze"Phttnfrom the="citslandmap 7287ées 1970Pansls+xtt em>Lgoice of lanecadencmap 7371ées 1970Varet.nese lirn ga| yearass="6-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle6956ées 1970Wdat,K a t hrInn” er tra Orddi Doesmorm acWant?ecadencmap 70 class="texorm aref=" revc>8orm acSeasnese limap 7073ées 1970nd LHealth Syd mit isnoises.s="Healthca ang an"> |  | ="5916ref="5916">yearass="6-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle689class="texPhos="Esspan>Dtat Xiaotain/p> FailbjeRe nHead5r">76tslandrn ga| yearass="5-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle6603ées 1970Utopian/Dyd opian Fe" dir="lt 667nées 1970Re-spaniapters wo Workirst twdmap 6762ées 1970nd LGarand aIi=usonsiatastropLoprev figurird being aGlobrevFlowsnese limap 6829ées 1970-happters wo Inn” 4andrn ga| yearass="4-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle6349ées 1970Postr"> 7 HadcrKo landmap 642class="texo 6506ées 1970nd LR 6557ées 1970Remhboripters wo> - Erang an">yearass="3-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle6087ées 1970n ayi, -8" / nds w: Innative statastroploprevadmiapbilitalyswhilc="nzTs landmap 6139ées 1970RerevEcont n="hu.

    i MaSorettv seqApst twdmap 6229ées 1970nd LUrbzeis

    ‘R 6306ées 1970 Visinks bet ng an">yearass="2-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle577class="texorm aref="WTO D wade landmap an class="sep> -
    /a>nées 1970Loprs of Civ> 5998ées 1970 Woand: Be na of Hal nky?ng an">yearass="1-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle5366ées 1970nd LNthe tra Learapterxt">val landmap a527ées 1970nd Lem>LgpterWrom tf Labourst twdmap 5602ées 1970 Medic :and LGlobrevIel A ‘goPEvoled beH908", andse limap 5691ées 1970nd LMn which Peopl"paranLibtion. einksng an">yearass="0-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle4972ées 1970n onpons)ane C ma: Felmrs Dalloway a263ées 1970G - Xrs jian tr"> 529class="sepof lan:and L srevd a D mocion.c tr">Dies oct/Soree" tise limap 5329ées 1970R , a of ="poinCa conslectng an">yearass=09-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle4762ées 1970 Soree" v fr < tnese AIDS landmap 4794ées 19701989, a Wa(sucubject. ent eac?ecadencmap 4831ées 1970nd LDeadlopis 4v class="texRelig Rclasfigurird beiallowayPeopl"paranRe5logientf ang an">yearass=08-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle3193ées 1970S id=yswhil rev="ps landmap 3593ées 1970Toward f trw Plogien revc>8, Gwe 3983lass="texorm a i Mao innd raès, Arsnese limap 4724ées 1970nd Ler">, LabolitalEsther Litrw ang an">yearass=07-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle1123lass="texolspat >Lgo:span>orm acem> clnge landmap 1543lass="texHadcrKo . TropYeofysLs wrst twdmap 1933lass="texoxtualationHaraon Soree" tise limap 2463lass="texorm a i MaPast:nReersn,nReChen Fang,nFndgetalatng an">yearass=06-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle566ées 1970Varet">6se limap 593ées 1970Varet">64twdmap 620ées 1970Varet">65twdmap 860ées 1970Varet">66e limap 790ées 1970Varet">67twdmap 1057ées 1970Varet">68an">yearass=05-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle960ées 1970Varet">57twdmap 451ées 1970Varet">58e limap 476ées 1970Varet">59e limap 4v ées 1970Varet">60e limap 514ées 1970Varet">6landmap a38ées 1970Varet">62an">yearass=04-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle743ées 1970Varet">5landmap 745ées 1970Varet">5adencmap 747ées 1970Varet">5se limap 746ées 1970Varet">54twdmap 403ées 1970Varet">55twdmap 429ées 1970Varet">56an">yearass=03-- #docHeadbrapIsabelle119ées 1970Varet">45twdmap 47ées 1970Varet">46e limap 120ées 1970Varet">47twdmap 132ées 1970Varet">48e limap 133ées 1970Varet">49e limap 134ées 1970Varet">50an"> | n class="sep, 20irator"> &#/591on"> |  |  | e>Hom>Inpan cabolite avoidef/591onss="goContener,tsmg> |

    Full size imspan>/7256/logo-cefc_orm ation=.pn" dir="ltr66span class2Date"/journ ga|  |

    u" />Fuspan>s/logo-ame"><- fo.pn" de"/journ ga| ther, while it work d="docpogos  | en, Angelan awrstonss="goConten ranslates and"mEclasfamIt ISSN otality os=imonss="goConten apIsabelle

    www.lodell for>Pthe subjepan clodelite map