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Representation of the Enlightenment Movement in Taiwan during the Japanese Colonial Period: The Historical Narrations of the Novels Cang Ming Xing and Huang Cun
Roman-fleuves written by Taiwanese novelists usually adopt the narrative style of fictional and real historical events. The prevailing themes of these novels concern fate of people and idealistic thinking. The two novels in discussion in this essay are Cang Ming Xing from Taiwanese Trilogy by Zhong Zhao-zheng and Huang Cun from Cold Night Trilogy by Li Qiao, both of which are based on historical materials on Taiwanese Cultural Association and Taiwanese Peasants Union to represent the scenarios of the familial involvement in the Enlightenment Movement during the Japanese Occupation in Taiwan.The 18(superscript th)-century German Philosopher Kant characterizes Enlightenment as "man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity," and the goal of Enlightenment is to modify the relationship between personal will, authority and use of rationality as well as introducing a world view with an emphasis on respecting human rights. We are going to discuss the following questions. First, how novelists consciously digest these voluminous and complicated historical materials to reconstruct many important cultural and historical events of the Enlightenment Movement in Taiwan; secondly, how they employ the fictional and real historical materials to narrate and reconstruct the historical contexts in their novels. The discussion of the historical contexts in the novels will be based on the following aspects; adaption of historical materials on Taiwanese Cultural Association and Taiwanese Peasants Union, public speeches and their meaning of Enlightenment, and the fictional and factual portrayals of the protagonists in the novels. We also refer to many first-hand documents and archives to analyze the techniques used by novelists in the plots, and interpret the uniqueness of their historical narration. Furthermore, by analyzing the characterizations of protagonists in the novels, of their actions and speeches, we can have a better understanding of the Enlightenment thinking of Taiwanese people during the Japanese Colonial Period.
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