Intertextual Trajectories of Remembering

Taiwan’s Authoritarian Past in Contemporary Fiction


  • Serena De Marchi Stockholm University



Taiwan literature, intertextuality, White Terror, memory, history


With the end of the Kuomintang’s authoritarian rule, in the late 1980s, Taiwan gradually opened to a public discussion of its own traumatic past, characterised by systematic government abuse, violent dissent suppression, and general disregard of civil and human rights. The memories of that history found ways to be expressed through a number of different media, including literature. This paper investigates two pieces of post-martial-law fiction, namely Zhu Tianxin’s “Once Upon a Time There Was an Urashima Taro” and Huang Chong-kai’s “Dixson’s Idioms”, which, in different ways and from different
authorial perspectives, elaborate on the experience of political imprisonment during the White Terror. In these texts, intertextuality is consistently used as a strategic narrative device to conjure the past into the present, and therefore constitutes a productive analytical perspective from which to look at Taiwan’s post-authoritarian literary mnemonic practices. 




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How to Cite

De Marchi, S. (2023). Intertextual Trajectories of Remembering: Taiwan’s Authoritarian Past in Contemporary Fiction. The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 4, 5–24.



Culture and Memory