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Date 2021-04-22


The Heterogeneous Mixture of “the Modern” and “the Primitive”: Modernism in Ong Nao’s Novels


Chu, Huei-Chu

Assistant Professor, Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature, National Chung-Hsing University


Recent postcolonial studies show that the appearance of modernism in the west metropolitan can be attributed to foreign migrants such as elites from the colonies as well as the anthropological contact with the Third World. This historical fact requires us to explore modernism in the process of interracial and intercultural contact and translation.

This paper deals with Ong Nao’s novels, as an example, in which modernism is interwoven with other literary conventions, such as realism and romanticism. How did Taiwanese intellectual studied in Japan, after exposing to Japanese modernism, develop their own modernism imbued with local color? How do they deal with the following colonial materials adolescence experience in Taiwan, psychological split between Tokyo and Taiwan, traditional Taiwanese characters in modernist language and style? In particular, how do modernist style and civilization experiences mix with local color and primitive sexual desire? Furthermore, I will discuss how the evaluation and discussion of Ong Nao’s novels exhibit particular cultural meanings and transformations of modernism.

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