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|Title:||Dialectical Narrative Strategy and the "Angel of History" in Two Early Stories by Huang Chun-ming|
|Authors:||J. B. Rollins|
|Abstract:||Walter Benjamin's "Angel of History" serves as an ideal hermeneutic image for readings of Huang Chun-ming's (黃春明) work, especially stories in which the narrator may be imagined as the angel flying backward into the future, surveying the rubble of traditional Taiwanese life in the wake of increasingly pervasive post-war urbanization, attempting to awaken his countrymen to the dark side of utopian progressionism and the rhetoric of "newness." Although this concern is most clearly developed in Huang's stories written after the rise of the Taiwanese "Economic Miracle" in the 1980s, its roots are clearly visible in earlier works such as "The Drowning of an Old Cat" (1967) and "The Taste of Apples" (1972), in which the author dramatizes his concerns about modern cultural change, often foregrounding local belief as a locus of misunderstanding, loss, and denial in relations between rural Taiwanese and "outsiders" from Taipei and other Taiwanese cities as well as the West. Read from a Marxist, post-colonial critical perspective, these tales develop a powerful dialectic not only between the cultural past of individual characters and the "newness" thrust upon them by social/economic/political forces they can neither understand nor control, but also between the impossibly positive narrative of utopian progressionism and the stark reality of cultural ruin in the wake of modernization leading inevitably to globalization.|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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