Imaging Native Landscape: Leftist Poetry, New Drama, and Photographic Vision in Taiwanese Literature during the 1930s-1940s
3: The Formation of 'Homeland' in Modern Taiwanese Literature in the 1930s
Friday, March 25, 2022
3:30pm – 5:00pm EST
Virtual Paper Presenter(s)
National Chengchi University, Taiwan (Republic of China)
In the 1930s, Taiwan had been under Japanese colonial rule for over 30 years. As Japan solidified its power, the possibilities for a Taiwanese social movement against Japanese colonization became more limited. This failure to rise up inspired modern Taiwanese literature throughout the decade. The most important literary magazines, which were Formosa(1933~1934) and Taiwanese Literature and Art (1934~1936), became the primary platforms for Taiwanese writers of that period. At the same time, the ‘Provincial Art Movement’ that was influenced by Germany’s ‘Himat Kunst’ arrived in colonial Taiwan. The discourses on ‘provincial art’ and ‘folk literature’ that were part of that movement became core tenets of modern Taiwanese literature. The plays in both Formosa and Taiwanese Literature and Art adopted ‘pre-modern’ superstitions and folk beliefs as the ‘local color’ to form images of Taiwan, and to build up dialectical arguments against ‘modernity’ according to Japanese colonization.
This paper will focus on Wu Yong-fu’s Red Thief, Green Thief, published in Formosa, and Zhang Shen-qie’s Hell Visit, published in Taiwanese Literature and Art, to examine how these two plays form the image of ‘homeland’ with local Taiwanese color. Moreover, this paper will cast light on how these two plays adopted superstitions and folk beliefs to manipulate dialectical arguments between ‘pre-modernity’ and ‘modernity.’