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The Subject-Formation of the Mainlanders in Taipei People Open Access


Other title
Taiwanese Literature
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Liu, Jing
Supervisor and department
Daniel Fried (Comparative Literature Program and the Department of East Asian Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Albert Braz (Comparative Literature Program)
Daniel Fried (Comparative Literature Program and the Department of East Asian Studies)
Jenn-Shann Lin (Department of East Asian Studies)
Department of East Asian Studies
Chinese Literature
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Bai Xianyong’s writing has two dimensions; one is “decline”, and the other is “youth”. Rooted in the fracture of historical trauma experience, “decline” stands for the last mainlander. However, the theme of Taipei People is not limited to the decline of a class, but rather “after the ending”, that is, how to face historical burden and newly establish and control subjectivity. The “after the ending” is just before the 1970s, during which Taiwan’s awakening of self-consciousness had begun. The rise of Taiwan’s self-consciousness during the 1970s did not come into being overnight. The 1960s was the period full of struggle and anxiety before the birth of the subject consciousness. In Taipei People, Bai Xianyong uses different stories to offer a multiform examination of the phenomena of historical anxiety associated with mainlanders in Taiwan. This thesis argues that the anxiety is rooted in their identity as the “last mainlanders.” During the transformative period of the 1960s and 1970s, these “Taipei people” solve the problem of how to face historical trauma through compulsively “tailing” the past. In contrast to the context of “Youth Writing” in the 1960s, Bai Xianyong pushes readers to face their historical anxiety through writing its declining years.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
The greater the significance, the greater the subjection to death, because death digs most deeply the jagged line of demarcation between physical nature and significance. Benjamin, Walter. (2007).Illuminations: Essays and Reflections.

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