Angelwings

Angelwings: Contemporary Queer Fiction from Taiwan

TRANSLATED BY FRAN MARTIN
Copyright Date: 2003
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wqjkx
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  • Book Info
    Angelwings
    Book Description:

    Lesbian and gay--or queer--fiction (known in Mandarin astongzhi wenxue) constitutes a major contribution to Taiwanese literature, as evidenced by the remarkable number of prestigious literary awards won by many of the authors of the short stories presented here. Indeed, the meteoric rise of this new genre was a defining feature of Taiwan's literary scene in the 1990s. Queer fiction was also instrumental in forming self-identifying subcultural gay readerships, thus serving a significant political function. But most strikingly, this fiction has been immensely popular with general readers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, as well as in diasporic Chinese communities worldwide. The startlingly fresh, brave voices that speak through these stories attest to the powerful social ferment of the past ten years in Taiwan, which have witnessed a revolution in discourses on sex and sexuality in the public sphere.

    Contributors:Chu T'ien-Wen, Qiu Miaojin, Chu T'ien-Hsin, Hsu Yoshen, Lin Yuyi, Lin Chun Ying, Chen Xue, Hong Ling, Chi Tawei, Wu Jiwen.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6146-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  4. INTRODUCTION TAIWAN’S LITERATURE OF TRANSGRESSIVE SEXUALITY
    (pp. 1-28)
    FRAN MARTIN

    On the first damp, gray day of 1999, an unsuspecting passerby en route to the vegetable market in Taipei’s Gongguan neighborhood, near National Taiwan University, might have been startled to stumble on a street-side drag show in full swing, aswirl with all the fabulous frocks and stellar talents of some of the city’s better-known drag artists. The inquiring pedestrian might then have peered through the window of the adjacent bookstore to see stacks of Chinese paperbacks and lifestyle magazines crammed into a tiny retail area, jostling for space with rainbow flags, buttons, and posters. It was the opening party for...

  5. BODHISATTVA INCARNATE
    (pp. 29-50)
    CHU T’IEN-WEN

    Chu T’ien-wen (b. 1956) is a prolific and critically acclaimed novelist, essayist, and screenwriter. HerNotes of a Desolate Man(1994) won the prestigiousChina TimesNovel Prize and was later translated into English by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Li. She wrote the screenplay forCity of Sadness(1989), perhaps the best-known film of one of Taiwan’s most eminent film directors, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and has collaborated with him on numerous other films. Chu T’ien-wen is the sister of author Chu T’ien-hsin (this volume).

    The reaction from Taiwan’stongzhireaderships and intellectuals to Chu’s stories of alienated male homosexuality has...

  6. PLATONIC HAIR
    (pp. 51-74)
    QIU MIAOJIN

    This is the first overtly lesbian-themed story by Qiu Miaojin (1969–1995), a writer who, apart from the accolades she won from Taiwan’s literary establishment, is also celebrated in local lesbian subcultures as the island’s best-known lesbian author. Qiu’s most influential works are her novels,The Crocodile’s Journal(1994) and the semiautobiographicalMontmartre Testament(published posthumously in 1996), both now lesbian classics.The Crocodile’s Journalwon theChina TimesHonorary Novel Prize for Qiu posthumously, following her suicide in Paris at just twenty-six. In an interesting development since the mid-1990s, La-zi, the name of the lesbian protagonist ofThe Crocodile’s...

  7. A STORY OF SPRING BUTTERFLIES
    (pp. 75-94)
    CHU T’IEN-HSIN

    Chu T’ien-hsin (b. 1958) is a critically acclaimed author whose literary prizes include severalChina Timesliterature prizes and theUnited Daily NewsNovel Prize. Her sensitive and lively writings on the relationships between friends in girls’ schools have been read devotedly by a generation of lesbian readers.The Pushpin Song: Notes from Three Years at Taipei First Girls’ School(1984) andDays on the Ark(1988) are particularly popular within local lesbian subcultures. This story, originally serialized in theChina Times(April 16–17, 1992), is from Chu’s 1992 collection,Thinking of My Brothers in the Veterans’ Neighborhood. Chu...

  8. STONES ON THE SHORE
    (pp. 95-126)
    HSU YOSHEN

    Hsu Yoshen (b. 1961) is a prolific popular gay writer and was a key figure in Taiwan’s 1990s gay cultural scene. He has published numerous books of gay-themed fiction and essays and has been prominent in Taiwan’s local print media and broadcasting industries. He came out publicly with an open wedding to his Uruguayan partner, Gray Harriman, in Taipei in 1996. This wedding, as much as his writing and his leading role in local gay cultural events, made Hsu a central icon of the 1990stongzhimovement and the model of atongzhipublic intellectual.

    This story is from his...

  9. THE BOY IN THE PINK ORCHID TREE
    (pp. 127-154)
    LIN YUYI

    Lin Yuyi (b. 1963) is the author of three short-story collections to date,I Love Eileen Chang(1992), from which this story is taken,Love Life(1992), andStars Singing on the Mountain(1998). All of Lin’s collections contain pieces with themes of same-gender eroticism, and his gay coming-of-age narratives, infused with a wistful nostalgia for central and southern Taiwan in the 1970s, have been read avidly by maletongzhireaderships over the past decade. This story has been anthologized in Yang Zongrun’s collectionSearching for Him in the Crowd, the first in Gay Sunshine’s series of collections of contemporary...

  10. WHO IS SINGING?
    (pp. 155-166)
    LIN CHUN YING

    Lin Chun Ying (b. 1960) is the author of four collections of short stories, many of which touch upon gay themes. His most recent collections,Burning Genesis(1997) andThe Five Debilities of the Lover(2000), are the most explicit in this regard. Like Lin Yuyi’s writing, Lin Chun Ying’s fiction frequently deals with queer adolescence. Lin Chun Ying received his master’s degree in journalism from Queens College, New York, and has lived in Hong Kong. Much of his fiction, like this story, is drawn from experiences of diaspora. This story was anthologized in Yang Zongrun’s second collection of contemporary...

  11. SEARCHING FOR THE LOST WINGS OF THE ANGEL
    (pp. 167-188)
    CHEN XUE

    Chen Xue (b. 1970) is a member of the new generation of queer writers, and her candid writings about women’s sexuality have by turns shocked and fascinated Taiwan’s literary establishment and reading public. Chen is the author of three story collections and one novel, all of which deal with such subjects as lesbian desire, bisexuality, and incest with an honesty and directness that have made her a celebrated figure among local lesbian audiences.

    This story is taken from Chen’s first collection,The Book of Wrongful Women(1995). After the book’s initial publication, a controversy erupted over its explicit sexual content,...

  12. POEM FROM THE GLASS WOMB
    (pp. 189-212)
    HONG LING

    Taiwan’s premier writer of queer gothic and vampire fiction, Hong Ling (b. 1971), also known as Lucifer Hung, is a key member of the new generation of lesbian and gay authors. She holds a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Sussex, and her prolific output from the mid-1990s includes seven novels, five collections of critical and theoretical essays, and three collections of short stories. She was a key participant in Taipei’s emergingtongzhipublic sphere during much of the 1990s, presenting papers at academic conferences and maintaining an influential presence in Taiwan’snütongzhiInternet culture while also...

  13. A STRANGER’S ID
    (pp. 213-220)
    CHI TAWEI

    Chi Tawei (b. 1972) was one of the most prominent figures on Taipei’s young queer literary and cultural scene in the 1990s. A graduate of National Taiwan University, he is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at UCLA. In addition to being a prolific and critically acclaimed author in Taipei, Chi was a regular contributor to discussions about sexuality and cyberculture, particularly through his columns in Taiwan’s major newspapers and magazines. In 1995 his novellaThe Membraneswon theUnited Daily NewsNovella Prize. He has also published three collections of stories, a collection of essays, and...

  14. ROSE IS THE PAST TENSE OF RISE
    (pp. 221-246)
    WU JIWEN

    Wu Jiwen (b. 1955) is a well-established author, scriptwriter, and translator. In addition to the novel from which this story is excerpted, his other major work of fiction is the 1996 novelFin de Siècle Boylove Reader,which rewrites the mid–nineteenth century Chinese homoerotic textPrecious Mirror for Ranking Flowersin a modern context. Taiwan-based critic Jian Jia-shin lists Wu’sBoylove Reader,along with Qiu Miaojin’sThe Crocodile’s Journaland Chu T’ienwen’sNotes of a Desolate Man,as one of three “must-read”tongzhinovels of the 1990s.¹ The relationship between Wu’s earlier novel and Chen Sen’sPrecious Mirror for...

  15. CHINESE TITLES
    (pp. 247-247)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 248-248)