Eileen Chang

Romancing Languages, Cultures and Genres


Edited by Kam Louie

ISBN : 978-988-8083-72-5

Literary Studies

March 2012

312 pages, 6″ x 9″, 32 b&w illus.

  • HK$195.00

Also available in Hardback HK$395.00

Eileen Chang (1920–1995) is arguably the most perceptive writer in modern Chinese literature. She was one of the most popular writers in 1940s Shanghai, but her insistence on writing about individual human relationships and mundane matters rather than revolutionary and political movements meant that in mainland China, she was neglected until very recently. Outside the mainland, her life and writings never ceased to fascinate Chinese readers. There are hundreds of works about her in the Chinese language but very few in other languages.

This is the first work in English to explore her earliest short stories as well as novels that were published posthumously. It discusses the translation of her stories for film and stage presentation, as well as nonliterary aspects of her life that are essential for a more comprehensive understanding of her writings, including her intense concern for privacy and enduring sensitivity to her public image.

The thirteen essays examine the fidelity and betrayals that dominate her alter ego’s relationships with parents and lovers, informed by theories and methodologies from a range of disciplines including literary, historical, gender, and film studies. These relationships are frequently dramatized in plays and filmic translations of her work.

Kam Louie is dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Hong Kong and author of Theorising Chinese Masculinity, and editor of Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image.

“This unique collection concentrates on Chang’s post-1949 bilingual writings, translations and scholarly research, effectively revising and enriching Chang’ profile as a writer and her role in modern Chinese literary history. While popular reception of Chang is often characterized by either undue adulation or derivation, many papers in this volume provide much needed critical insights and carefully researched analysis, often based on newly revealed sources, touching on issues from Chang’s implication in the Cold-War politics to the ethics of autobiographical writing.” —Yi Zheng, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Chinese Studies, University of Sydney

“While there are numerous articles and chapters available in English addressing different aspects of Eileen Chang’s work, there is—as yet—no single volume in English on the topic. This work makes an important contribution to the field.” —Carlos Rojas, Associate Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, and Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University