Eileen Chang: Romancing Languages, Cultures and Genres

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Kam Louie
Hong Kong University Press, Mar 1, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 312 pages
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Eileen Chang (1920–1995) is arguably the most perceptive writer in modern Chinese literature. She was one of the most popular writers in 1940s Shanghai, but her insistence on writing about individual human relationships and mundane matters rather than revolutionary and political movements meant that in mainland China, she was neglected until very recently. Outside the mainland, her life and writings never ceased to fascinate Chinese readers. There are hundreds of works about her in the Chinese language but very few in other languages. This is the first work in English to explore her earliest short stories as well as novels that were published posthumously. It discusses the translation of her stories for film and stage presentation, as well as nonliterary aspects of her life that are essential for a more comprehensive understanding of her writings, including her intense concern for privacy and enduring sensitivity to her public image. The thirteen essays examine the fidelity and betrayals that dominate her alter ego's relationships with parents and lovers, informed by theories and methodologies from a range of disciplines including literary, historical, gender, and film studies. These relationships are frequently dramatized in plays and filmic translations of her work.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Romancing Returnee Men
15
2 From Page to Stage
33
3 Eileen Chang and Things Japanese
49
4 The Ordinary Fashion Show
73
5 Betrayal Impersonation and Bilingualism
91
6 Eileen Chang Dream of the Red Chamber and the Cold War
113
7 Eileen Chang and Ang Lee at the Movies
131
8 Seduction of a Filmic Romance
155
9 A Person of Weak Affect
177
10 Romancing Rhetoricity and Historicity
193
11 Madame White The Book of Change and Eileen Chang
215
Afterword
243
Notes
249
Index
283
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About the author (2012)

Kam Louie is dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Hong Kong and author of Theorising Chinese Masculinity.

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