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Date 2021-03-18


Whose Literature? Whose Property? On Chinese Literature in Taiwanese Magazine under Japanese Rule


Hsu, Chun-Ya

Professor, The Department of Chinese, National Taiwan Normal University


This essay focuses on the phenomenon of Chinese literature in Taiwanese magazine or newspaper under Japanese rule. Which texts were chosen for reproduction? In which way were those texts reprinted? The reproduction of literature can be regarded as a process of culture transformation, including mutual adaptation, selection, preservation and elimination of different aspects of both cultures. From the viewpoint of the editor, he or she has to make many decisions in the process of reproduction because he or she has to take into consideration the politics and culture of a different country, and even commercial or entertainment factors. Chinese literature, when it was to be reprinted, thus went through plenty of changes. Besides addition, abbreviation and changes of plot, this essay focuses on the following forms of change: (i) change of heading, (ii) change of the name of the author and (iii) change of the wording in main text. First of all, in changing the heading, it may be based on the name of the protagonist, the first sentence of the text or the main theme of the story. Secondly, in changing the name of author, problems of imposture and plagiarism arises. Thirdly, in changing the wording in the main text, it may omit the narrator of the story, names of the characters in the story, where and when the story happens or even combine several stories which share similar topics. Tracing the origin of these stories and the changes they went through in the process of reproduction can help us get some insights into the underlying thought of the editors and finally construct a framework or structure which exhibits the interaction of literature among countries in East Asia. Only under this framework can we interpret Taiwanese literature more precisely and correct the mistakes made by much recent academic research in this field.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature