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Date 2021-04-27


The Modern Deduction of a Hundred Year Legend: The transtextuality between novel representation and drama adaptation of “The Golden Cangue”


Chuang, Yi-Wen

Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Central University


The rewrote of Eileen Chang’s family story became the novelette “The Golden Cangue”, which was then revised again into “The Rouge of the North”. From complete to incomplete, from being heroically tragic to bleakness, Chang’s change of attitude to the world and herself was revealed from her works. Hence a normal life became a legend, and obtained an eternal life through Chang’s writing.

Various adaptations tended to mix the two novels with the expression of the adaptor’s own notion and the time/space position. “The Rouge of the North” made by the Central Pictures of Taiwan tried to stay true with the original. With localized Taiwan new age film making style, though, the film became a metaphor where Chang’s life got transformed to Taiwan. The same drama made by mainland, in the mean time, added not only too much romantic elements but also modern westernization spirit and anti-feudal issue. The end result was more like a soap opera for commercial market.

The play write recreated by Anyi Wang focused on the critique elements in the original work and strengthen the intense complaint following the tradition of leftwing literary. Wang was able to bring out the vivid characteristics of the work and made the denouement even more tragic. Hong Kong director Edward Lam’s “Two Women” and Taiwan director Liang-Yen Liu’s “Ciao, Ci Chao” were two experimental plays selected only ingredients from Chang’s original work to express their own idea and to connect with the phenomenon of the era. As to the newly edited Peking opera by National GuoGuang Opera Company, the ethics and enlightenment was overturned. The goal was to combine the traditional presentation style with Chang’s relatively new work, and recreating Chang’s spirit through the demonstration of magnificent and desolate on the same stage.

The recreation of Chang’s original works from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China all enriched the originals with modern elements, colorful presentations, as well as different respects. These recreations are not merely echos to the legend but the re-production with modern spirit.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature