It is the politicians, who decide the future of Taiwan, who should take the responsibility, not the writers.  Taiwanese writers have fulfilled their obligation to speak up on behalf of their land and people, and their successors are now following suit and are on the upward surge.

     Taiwan literature has long been regarded as over-emphasizing Taiwan regionalism, which seems to challenge or exclude the orthodoxy of Chinese literature.   But judging from the origins of Chinese literature, do not the Shih-ching (Book of Songs) and Ch'u-tz'u (Songs of Ch'u) possess regional characteristics, the one of the North and the other of the South?  How can literati break off from their time and space and exist?  Ethereal concepts cannot produce real literature; neither can literary policies, and much less are slogans to be taken as literature.  A writer should faithfully record what he sees around him, and honestly voice the sentiments of the people.  This has been the invaluable tradition of Taiwan literature since the era of the Japanese occupation.

     The Hsiang-t'u wen-hsüeh lun-chan (Regional Literature Debate) of the 1970s followed an earlier Hsiang-t'u wen-hsüeh lun-cheng (Regional Literature Controversy), which had taken place in the 1930s.  (In other countries any debated propositions are logically expected to be passed on to the next generation.  But in Taiwan, only after a person has sorted out the literary documents of the Japanese-occupation period does it suddenly dawn on him that the debate has happened before.  At least during the debate, no one ever quoted the views and insights of the Taiwanese writers in the era of the Japanese occupation.  It is evident from this how severe the discontinuity has been.)  Thus the debate has deepened the nativist (pen-t'u) spirit in Taiwan literature.  On the other hand, the heated dispute has also made the concept of regional literature more transparent (at least it is not necessarily thought any more to be synonymous with proletarian literature which serves the workers, peasants, and soldiers).  The concern over reality in literature has been made even more concrete ever since.  Looking at it from another angle, however, regional literature appears to have been stereotyped soon after. Instantaneously, literary works abound with endless country folks like Uncle A-t'u (Uncle Earth) and Aunt A-kou (Aunt Dog), and it seems as if anything that is not peopled with these country folks is no longer real literature.  In fact, the scope of literary expression is extremely broad.  Since regional literature focuses on one's own village and native soil, country folks naturally offer material for literary expression.  But literary works are good only when they are profound and touching.  If the forms are only adopted superficially and other ways of literary expression are rejected, the result is decadence.  

Sponsored by the Chuan Lyu Foundation
© 1997 - 2008 The Chuan Lyu Foundation All Rights Reserved