The Thawiphop Phenomenon: Reimagining Nationalism in a Contemporary Thai Novel and Its Stage and Screen Adaptations

  • Morakot Jewachinda Meyer


This chapter offers an analysis of the novel Thawiphop (Parallel Worlds) by Thai author Tamayanti and its reception in Thai society. First published in 1986, Thawiphop has gained wide popularity both in print and in various screen and stage adaptations. The success of the novel – the Thawiphop phenomenon – reveals the interconnection between nationalism and the entertainment industry in contemporary Thailand. This chapter suggests that Thawiphop takes Lewis’s legendary books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as its inspiration and argues that Thawiphop becomes a mirror of efforts by the Thai middle class to appropriate nationalism – and hence a claim to political power – by reimagining the history of the late nineteenth-century Siam/Thailand. The novel continues a literary tradition that was pioneered by Kukrit Pramoj’s novel Four Reigns (1953) and combines love stories with historical narratives of the Bangkok period seen through the eyes of women. Most Thawiphop versions do not center their fantasized pasts on the king. Instead, they create a female protagonist who travels to the past to shape the nation’s destiny and who has no desire to return to the present world. The Thawiphop phenomenon thus shows that the identity of the middle class and their nostalgia for the past are connected through the construction of gender roles, in particular, through the theme of “mothering the nation” and through the interpretation of the Franco-Siamese conflict of 1893.


Middle Class National Unity Master Narrative Parallel World Official Version 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank Claus K. Meyer for his comments and our discussions on this essay.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pridi Banomyong International CollegeThammasat University (Tha Prachan Campus)Pranakorn, BangkokThailand

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