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Date 2021-04-27


The Rise of the Modernist Trend in Taiwan


Sung-Sheng Yvonne Chang

Professor, Chinese and Comparative Literature, The University of Texas at Austin


The English original of this essay was written in the late 1980s. Through discussing works by two generations of writers active in Taiwan between the 1950s and the 1970s, it explores the implications of the Modernist literary movement in contemporary Taiwanese literary history. The first half of the essay deals with the ways writings of the “older” generation of writers were constrained by the politically instituted dominant culture at the time, while the second half describes key features in the new artistic forms introduced by the Modernist fiction writers. The purpose of the essay is to argue that a meaningful and far-reaching aesthetic reorientation occurred as a result of the Modernist literary trend. A solid understanding of how this “aesthetic revolution” took place at the level of textual production ought to serve as basis for more ambitious explorations of diverse, complex issues pertaining to “modernity.”

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature