China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: Despite 92 years of Japanese colonial rule and martial law under the Nationalist Guomindang as a Cold War-era client state of the United States, Taiwan has had a persistent number of leftist intellectuals in its literary circles. This panel examines three writers who all were leftists for at least part of their careers and all embraced socialist or even Marxist views. The panel opens with a presentation by Mei Mingxue Nan, writing on the complicated life of Liu Na’ou, a Taiwanese author who eventually moved to mainland China and lived out his life there. Liu’s leftism is often overlooked, but in fact early on he clearly was a leftist. His connections with mainland intellectuals such as Lu Xun and Ding Ling confirm that. A different figure from the same period is Yang Kui, a socialist intellectual fiercely dedicated to Taiwan and to the liberation of its people. Pei-yin Lin offers an evaluation of two of his street plays and some of his prison letters, which have only come to light in the last few years. Yang Kui was a mentor to Chen Yingzhen, the subject of Christopher Lupke’s presentation, a leftist of the next generation who charted a unique path in Taiwan as someone fervently committed to Marxism and a critique of Taiwan’s political economy within the overall context of global capitalism. These papers illuminate the differences between the authors biographically, politically, and in terms of their literature, underscoring the complexity and vitality of the literary left in Taiwan.
Paper Presenter: Mei Mingxue Nan – Harvard University
Paper Presenter: Pei-yin Lin – University of Hong Kong
Paper Presenter: Christopher Lupke – University of Alberta