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Date 2021-02-20


A Nostalgic Trajectory at the Other Time: The Comparison Between Tong Wei-Ge’s North-West Rain and Lin Jun-Ying’s The Nostalgia That Dare Not Speak Its Name


Su, Wei-Chen

Distinguished Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Cheng Kung University


Since the beginning of the 21st century, Taiwan nativist literature has expended geographical coordinates to incorporate urban issues, especially Tong Wei-Ge’s North-West Rain and Lin Jun-Ying’s The Nostalgia That Dare not Speak its Name retains resonance factors that can be identified, such as urban and village, historic and modern space. Particularly, among those characters are in between authentic and illusionary, whence to recall memories to respond nostalgic trajectory, by so doing, it is to build a passage of “the other time”, and the memories that being re-called figurative a non-mundane existence. The Russian-American scholar Svetlana Boym claims that in the face of globalization and cyborg interfaces human with technology, “place associated with spatiality is not only transgressed but also virtualized.” But no matter how virtualized a place is, human beings cannot but need somewhere to return. Instead of merely referring to the myth of homesickness (how, where, and in which way we return), this study conducts Boym’s idea of nostalgia which shares similar sentiments of homesickness and expands to nostalgic spaces. The visual imagination of the physical attributes of city ruins and building sites serves as a critique of globalization. To Boym, nostalgia provides “a survival strategy or a trajectory of finding meanings in the impossibility of homecoming” to those leaving or unable to return to hometown. By taking Boym’s redefinition of nostalgia, this study reads how Tong’s and Lin’s works call forth homesick memories through a lens of nostalgia. A trajectory of “the other time” is argued to be built upon a non-worldly temporality of memories, allowing us to go back and forth between past and now, country and city, the path of Anarchism brings us to the core of the being in the world: how to write your soul.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature