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Palgrave Macmillan

Writing Chinese

Reshaping Chinese Cultural Identity

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  • © 2006


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Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. The Vision

  2. Coda: Cultural Identity and Cultural Globalization


About this book

This is a comparative study of the politics of Chinese cultural identity facing China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US-Chinese, and the Chinese diaspora in the West. The author challenges current discussions of hybridity and nationalism by contrasting the experiences of Taiwan, Hong Kong and US-Chinese with those of China and the Chinese diaspora.


"This is the first book to so thoroughly probe one of the questions that has haunted and continues to haunt Chinese writers: what does it mean to be Chinese? Through analysis of contemporary literary texts from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora, Chen sees the literary representation of identity as a spectrum of possibilities ranging from the ³authentic² (negotiating a cultural identity out of an interaction with traditional culture) to the ³hybrid² (reveling in plural identities). Within a framework shaped by postmodern and postcolonial theories, Chen shows a keen sensitivity in her reading of literary texts, which include those by writers as diverse as Wang Anyi, Zhu Tianxin and Zhu Tianwen, Dung Kai-cheung, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gao Xingjian."- Kirk Denton, The Ohio State University

'Letty Chen has done magnificent work in rethinking the meaning and function of literary history and cultural politics. In Writing Chinese: Reshaping Chinese Cultural Identity, she looks into sources drawn from both indigenous and diasporic Chinese writings and teases out the radical elements in the contemporary debate about cultural and ethnic identities. Her book is an important source for anyone interested in Chinese and comparative literary and cultural studies.' - David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University

'Writing Chinese enacts a drama of personal and cultural identity along the jagged lines of travel, motion and assimilation. In lucid andflowing language Lingchei Letty Chen shows the poignant juggling acts of trying to find one's anchorage in the shifting sands of genealogies, memories, and national identifications. No sooner is Chineseness posited than it slips away to a new place in geopolitical power shuffling. Based on culture and literature in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, her provocative accounts articulate the dynamic matrix of authenticity, identity, and divided loyalty.' - Ban Wang, author of The Sublime Figure of History (1997) and Illuminations from the Past (2004)

About the author

LINGCHEI LETTY CHEN is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Language and Literature at Washington University, USA.

Bibliographic Information

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