Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond

by Chia-rong Wu

Reviews

"Chia-rong Wu’s Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond is a most welcome addition to the burgeoning field of Sinophone studies ... and makes important contributions to the field ... Through a meticulous delineation of the literary aesthetic trajectory, reformulation, and deformation of the zhiguai genre from traditional Chinese culture to modern and contemporary Sinophone Taiwan, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond succeeds in advancing the field of Sinophone studies in several critical directions. First, it demonstrates the spectral and supernatural genre’s stylistic diversification into the terrains of magical realism, nativism, and translocalism. Second, it reveals the complex histories and narratives of migration, displacement, and global diasporas in both contextual and textual literary production. Furthermore, the emphasis on the literary form and expressive potential of the supernatural and the strange reconfirms the critical value of literature itself, which Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has called the value of 'unverifiability.' Finally, engaging with voices and figures that dwell in the shadows of mainstream historicism, nationalist historiography, China-centrism, and patriarchal violence, the book gestures alternatively toward the marginal, the feminist, the racially marked, and the queer. In so doing, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond charts a new direction at the intersections of Sinophone studies, Chinese literary studies, Taiwan studies, and gender studies." —Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC)

“This book examines some interesting, significant types and aspects of Sinophone Taiwan fiction, as well as a number of prominent writers and representative works. Focusing on the narratives of the strange, it connects the trope of ghost haunting with Taiwan’s complex ethnoscapes and historical, colonial trauma. In addition to investigating ‘ghost island’ narratives, it explores literary representations of magical nativism--including magical localism and translocalism. It offers an excellent, timely study on the important but understudied Sinophone Taiwan literature.” —Yenna Wu, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature, University of California, Riverside

“This book travels in a new direction in Taiwanese fiction studies. Through the theme of 'ghost,' this book links various historical phases, landscape features, and ethnic relations in response to the transformation of Taiwan’s social environment and aesthetics of fiction. With a thought-provoking discourse, this book also provides a pleasurable reading experience.” —Ming-ju Fan, Professor and Director of the Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature at the National Chengchi University

“Writing from and of the margins, Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond examines the trope of Taiwan as a ghost island through the lens of zhiguai, the premodern Chinese concept of the strange or supernatural. The focus on marginal and liminal narratives facilitates a Sinophone reading of Taiwanese literature and culture beyond the dominant literary taxonomy of modern Chinese literature. Despite its specific focus, the book surveys Taiwanese literature with a study of texts by authors such as Pai Hsian-yung, Li Ang, Chu T’ien-hsin, Wu He, and Giddens Ko to propose a genealogy of ghost island literature as an alternative way of understanding Taiwan as a nation. This first single-authored book on Sinophone Taiwan, which intellectually treads on untouched terrains of a unique literary tradition, is a very welcome addition.” —E.K. Tan, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Stony Brook University; and author of Rethinking Chineseness

“In Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond, Chia-rong Wu argues convincingly that the modern zhiguai genre offers Taiwan writers a way of engaging internal difference—particularly as it pertains to gendered and ethnic difference, as well as sites of historical trauma—while at the same time imagining modern Taiwan as a site of difference within a broader Chinese, or Sinophone, cultural imaginary” —Carlos Rojas, Associate Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, and Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University


 

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