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Date 2021-04-28


Taiwanese Literature Turning Left: Yang Kui and the Literary Criticism in the 1930’s


Chen, Fang-Ming

Professor, Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature National Chengchi University


As a self-dubbed “humanitarian socialist” throughout his life, Yang-Kui (1905-1985) had played a mild role both in the left-wing political movement during the 1920's and in the leftist literary movement during the 1930's under Japanese rule. Much attention and discussion have been directed to the artistic achievements in his writing of fiction, but little to his literary criticism which deserves close examination. This paper seeks to explain why Yang Kui chose to convert his political activity into literary writing after he had been expelled from the camp of the peasant movement in 1929. With his strong belief in socialism, Yang Kui, when departing from the political group, came to realize that literature as a tool for antagonizing colonization was a proper way to enlighten general mass in colonial Taiwan. However, his pursuit of Marxist literary theory led him again to break with members in the literary organization he had joined. The position he took in the literary movement was unwelcome by both the rights and leftists., simply because he was too mild from the left while too radical from the right. This paper proposes to seek an interpretation to clarify his writing strategies in literary criticism during this controversial period.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature