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Abstract

In her paper, "Taiwan, China, and Yang Mu's Alternative to National Narratives," Lisa L.M. Wong examines the ways Yang Mu's poetry acts as an echo and a dissent to the mainstream national narratives in Taiwan between the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this decade, identity discourse has developed from othering Westernism to preserve Chinese cultural-national integrity to espousing a native Taiwanese identity against the Chinese one. Each of Yang's poems in Wong's analysis is a field of contention, peopled by different subjects such as the colonizers, the native Taiwanese, the female, and the diasporant, who articulate contested stories of a historical event or a historical site. The "lived" experiences of the texts' participants rupture the orthodox narratives, whether it is the Dutch imperialist conquest, the Ming glory of national recovery, or the place-based cultural imaginary of Chang-an. If, as John Berger says, fear of the present leads to mystification of the past, perhaps, hope for the future lies in demystification of the past and the present. Yang's poems are attempts of demystification as well as political critique, they are history plays in which disparate histories play against each other, letting open a myriad of alternatives for addressing national-cultural narratives in post-colonial Taiwan and in contemporary China.

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