Family Catastrophe and the making of Taiwanese modernity

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By re-reading one of the most important modernist works in Taiwan's post-war literary history, Wang Wen-hsing's Family Catastrophe (1972), I rethink the binary of realism and modernism articulated in Taiwan's Nativist Literary Debate (1977-1978). Taking the 1960s and 1970s as a historical reference point that Family Catastrophe identifies, responds to, and reflects on, my reading of the change in the parent-child relationships shows the connectedness between Taiwan's modernism and the island's social and economic modernization. Rather than reading modernism in Taiwan solely in terms of its formal and linguistic innovation and its investment in modern Western philosophies, I see the novel as an attempt to redefine the dynamics within and between modernism and social criticism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-146
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Modern Literature
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Modernism
  • Taiwanese literature
  • Wang Wen-hsing


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