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Date 2021-03-17


Travels of Minor Narratives: Chen Dingshan’s Shanghai and Taipei


Nicole Huang

Professor, Chinese Literature and Visual CultureDepartment of East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Chen Dingshan (1897-1987) led a long-lasting writing career that spanned six decades and flourished on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Already a celebrated writer and popular culture figure in his Shanghai era, Chen began to write at a faster pace and with a much larger output after migrating to Taiwan in 1948, composing expansive long narratives as well as many volumes of prose and poetry. This paper takes examples from Chen’s collections of anecdotes and short fiction in the 1950s and 1960s to discuss how narratives became portable and how forms of popular literature were transplanted from Republican-era Shanghai to postwar Chinese-speaking communities in Taiwan and elsewhere. Narratives were portable and transplantable against a violent context of mid-century transitions. Chen and others like him took advantage of the flourishing publishing industry fueled by cold-war era politics and flows of transnational capitals and continued to experiment with a range of hybrid literary forms and styles.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature