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Date 2021-03-18


While the Wen-Yen Fiction Meets the Official Newspaper: An Analysis of Li Yi-Tao’s Fiction Flower in the Wasteland


Huang, Mei-E

Professor, Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University


The press played an important role in the development of Taiwan fiction during the Japanese colonial period. Among all, the most important one is the official newspaper called Taiwan Ri Ri Xin Bao, which had had published lots of fiction in installments, and many writers’ works were published on it. Hence, the Wen-yen fiction on the Taiwan Ri Ri Xin Bao and its sister paper Han-wen Taiwan Ri Ri Xin Bao, became the epitome of half Taiwan fiction history. This paper will discuss the relationship between the press and literature; analyze the variation of writing and producing field of fiction before and after the wen-yen fiction were published on the official papers. For further expression, I chose the Li Yi-Tao’s fiction Flower in the Wasteland. Li was a classical intellectual, an author and also a report. The fiction “Flower in the Wasteland” was published on newspaper at the early stages of Japanese colonial period, described a story about a Chinese man Lin Tuan, who came from Quanzhou, Fujian Province, met a Taiwan aborigine woman Chi-mei and then fall in unblessed love. By discussing this fiction, first, I will manifest the symbiosis between the press and literature, which mostly appeared on the relationship between wen-yen fiction, newspaper fiction and official newspaper fiction. Second, I will discuss the contradiction between old and new, politic and entertainment, and the ambiguous between enlightenment and traditions while a classical intellectual became a report, the wen-yen (which means they are old) fiction met new media, and the wen-yen/old fiction became (official) newspaper fiction. Third, through analyzing the text, I will show you the coloniality, the modernity and the popularity of the Flower in the Wasteland, and its culture/politic/literature meaning. Finally, I will point out that the process of the modernity of Taiwan literature is not a unitary linear development, but a multiple process, which has been molded by old and new power.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature