Colonial Taiwan

Negotiating Identities and Modernity through Literature


Author: Pei-yin Lin
This book offers a thorough and thought-provoking study on the impact of Japanese colonialism on Taiwan’s literary production from the 1920s to 1945. It redresses the previous nationalist and Japan-centric interpretations of works from Taiwan’s Japanese period, and eschews a colonizer/colonized dichotomy. Through a highly sensitive textual analysis and contextual reading, this chronologically structured book paints a multi-layered picture of colonial Taiwan’s literature, particularly its multi-styled articulations of identities and diverse visions of modernity. By engaging critically with current scholarship, Lin has written with great sentiment the most complete history of the colonial Taiwanese literary development in English.

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Pei-yin Lin, Ph.D. (2001), University of London, is Assistant Professor in the School of Chinese, HKU. She has published on modern Chinese/Taiwanese literature, including Print, Profit, and Perception: Ideas, Information and Knowledge in Chinese Societies, 1895-1949 (co-edited, Brill, 2014).
"Drawing admirably from sources in Chinese, Japanese, and English, Colonial Taiwan charts exciting new scholarly waters. With its focus on how Taiwanese writers, caught between competing cultural authorities, struggled to reappropriate a local cultural space and search for selfhood from the 1920s through the end of the colonial period, Colonial Taiwan provides a deep and rigorous perspective on colonial period Taiwanese literature."
Karen Thornber, Harvard University

"By presenting a comprehensive picture of the literary scene from colonial Taiwan, the author of this book joins a troop of dedicated scholars in post-martial law Taiwan who delve into a previously suppressed area of knowledge with a sense of urgency and historical responsibility. In particular, Lin takes on the important task of deconstructing the 'patriot vs traitor' framework that has been frequently, if at times unwittingly, resorted to in appraising Taiwanese writers active in the Japanese era. She does so convincingly, by effectively foregrounding such salient characteristics of the era as multifaceted-ness, heterogeneity, and intensely negotiated self-identity. Also noteworthy is the way Lin avoids the prevalent scholarly propensity of scrutinizing literary texts for ideological registers of race, class, and gender. Rather, she views them first and foremost as products of creative imagination conceived within constantly shifting historical circumstances. As such, they provide excellent lenses through which to perceive the colonized Taiwanese subjects’ widely varied, forever tortuous search for a stable sense of cultural belonging."
Yvonne Sung-sheng Chang, University of Texas, Austin

"Colonial Taiwan's depth and path breaking methodology make it a significant addition to the field. Lin has written a thorough history of the colonial Taiwanese literary establishment in the English language. It makes a refreshing, forceful addition to the literature."
Bert Scruggs, University of California, Irvine

"This extensive and admirable study is a must-have in libraries containing collections on East Asia. It also belongs on reading lists of courses dealing with Taiwan literature or colonial literature in Asia in general."
-Carsten Storm, Technische Universität Dresden, in International Journal of Taiwan Studies, Vol 2 (2019) p. 377-395

Colonial Taiwan offers a richly researched and contextualized series of readings of Taiwanese writers writing in both vernacular Chinese and Japanese. [This] book provides a plethora of information and nuanced analyses that certainly deepens our understanding of the conundrum faced by Taiwanese writers and their negotiating of identities under Japanese colonial rule.”
- Leo T. S. Ching, Duke University, in The Journal of Japanese Studies, Volume 46, Number 2, Summer 2020, pp.501-505
Series Editors’ Foreword
Notes on Romanization and Translation

Introduction: Relocating the Multilingual New Taiwanese Literature
Chapter 1 The Nationalist Paradigm of Taiwan Literature: Lai He
Chapter 2 From Nationalism to Socialism: Yang Kui
Chapter 3 Popular Romances and their Alternative Modernity: Xu Kunquan and Wu Mansha
Chapter 4 Stylistic Reorientation and Innovation: Lü Heruo, Long Yingzong, and Weng Nao
Chapter 5 How to Become “Japanese”?: Chen Huoquan, Wang Changxiong, and Zhou Jinbo
Chapter 6 The Lure of China: Wu Zhuoliu and Zhong Lihe
Epilogue: Toward a Multifaceted Literary Commonwealth

The main audience will be university students and scholars in the fields of East Asian literature, culture, and history, and those interested in world literature or global postcolonial studies.