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Publication

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TitleLiterary Field in Wartime Taiwan: A Case Study of the Literary World System
作者Chang, Sung-sheng
作者說明Professor, Department of Asian Studies & Program in Comparative Literature, The University of Texas at Austin
摘要In recent years, many scholars have tried to develop a set of nonexclusivist frameworks to re-discuss “world literature”. Despite the pervasive impact of postcolonialist and multiculturalist discourses, however, the attention paid to modern literatures from the East Asian region pales in comparison to studies of the Anglophone and Francophone literatures produced in former Western colonies. This is caused, in my view, not only by a knowledge deficit, in terms of empirical facts, but also by a lack of systematic examination of the distinctive dynamics, internal cross-currents, and shared patterns of modern literary development within the region. A sociologically oriented approach promises to fruitfully address this issue. This article treats the development of the literary field in wartime Taiwan as a case study. It examines some key aesthetic issues related to the restructuring of the literary field during the first few years of the 1940s, with the ultimate goal of identifying some commonly seen modalities of literary developments in modern East Asian societies. For instance, as latecomers to the modern world, these societies are frequently subject to political interventions resulting in paradigmatic shifts in cultural production, including drastic restructuring of the literary field through a new set of principles of inclusion and exclusion. Rather than focusing on violence against arbitrarily excluded literary agents, it is time to also more systematically investigate the structural forces that enable cultural production in the new period. Also, the field, restructured by extrinsically and arbitrarily motivated forces, nonetheless assumes structural qualities essential to its normative model, and as a result the political power dynamics are mediated by aesthetic positions, albeit emphatically in a sociohistorically inflected manner. Moreover, the competing aesthetic positions within the field inevitably register influences from literary models of the hegemonic West, and therefore it is imperative for scholars to carefully trace the multilayered genealogies of these positions. Another notable feature deserving attention is that, as a majority of East Asian cultural fields in reality enjoy a rather low degree of autonomy, their participants must deploy different kinds of coping strategies to fend off immediate pressures, and as a result develop certain types of habitus. The situation becomes even more strained when society enters a state of emergency, and even a minimum degree of cultural normalcy can no longer be maintained.
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