Eileen Chang’s life and the Influence of Chinese Literature Eileen Chang, or Chang Ailing, (1920 – 1995) is one of the best novelists in Chinese modem literature history. Her work is known for its unique feminine elegance and classic beauty. She became famous and popular by the readers at that time when she published her first novel in 1943. Her amazing grasp of people’s psychology and her particular attitude toward life were seldom seen at the time. Her most famous works include Lust, Caution and Love in a Fallen City.
The portrayal of her life in 1940s Shanghai and Japanese-occupied Hong Kong is remarkable in its focus on everyday life and the absence of the political subtext which characterized many other writers of the period. Poet and University of Southern California professor Dominic Cheung commented “had it not been for the political division between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese, she would have almost certainly won a Nobel Prize”. ( Wikipedia,org) Chang was born in Shanghai to a renowned family. Her parents divorced when Chang was five.
In 1939, she was accepted into the University of Hong Kong to study literature. After two years, she also got an opportunity to study in the University of London; however, she had to give up while Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese and then she went back to Shanghai. (China culture, “Eileen Chang’s life in brief”) Chang was introduced to a famous editor, Shoujuan Chou in 1943. She gave him a few pieces of her writing and with his help, Chang soon became the most popular new writer in Shanghai.
Within the next two years, she wrote Love in a Fallen City and The Golden Cangue. Her literary maturity was said to be beyond her age. The Golden Cangue has been regarded as one of the best novels in Chinese modern literature. In the early days of her career, Chang was famously associated with this comment: To be famous, I must hurry. If it comes too late, it will not bring me so much happiness … Hurry, hurry, or it will be too late, too late! ( Lust, Caution,Penguin Classics.
Retrieved April 26, 2011) After 1949, Chang’s literature was different from the mainstream literature; it became the greatest difficulty for her to be accepted, so she migrated to Hong Kong in 1952, where she worked as a translator for the American News Agency for three years. Then she left for the United States in the fall in 1955, never return to the mainland again. (China culture, “Eileen Chang’s life in brief”) The Golden Cangue was popular short novel in America when it was published while Chang was not satisfied about the reputation in America.
Her ambition led her to expend The Golden Cangue into a long novel. (Fujian translator association, “??????? —-????? The Rouge of the North”) The Golden Cangue was adapted into Yuan Nu in 1967. Yuan Nu has been translated into The Rouge of the North in 1971 by herself. The Rouge of the North tells of the melancholy life of a lower-class woman trapped within the confines of an unhappy arranged marriage. Taking the reader through the stages of this woman’s gradual descent into madness, it contains some of the most notable novelistic features of Chang’s work. University of California, Irvine) She wrote about broken marriages in many of her books and most of her works were pessimistic overtones because of her unhappy childhood in a broken family. With the development of economic revolution in mainland China in the 1980’s, Chang was gradually accepted in China. Her works frequently deal with the tensions in love between men and women. Chang’s literature is a milestone of feminist consciousness and also reflects the Chinese feminism literature after the May Fourth Movement. Chixui Chu, “On the Cultural Creativity in Fictions by Zhang-Ailing”) She was the first writer who gathered woman literature on politics and turbulence. In her novels there were detailed descriptions on authentic thoughts and survival of middle-aged women in that particular generation. (Dongxia Cheng, “Analysis about Eiling Chang, the Gift Female Writer in Turbulent Days”) (www. studa. net) With the number of her fans increasing; she was accepted by mainland’s literature field and known as the greatest popular novelist with modern character in Chinese literature’s history. Works cited 1) Wikipedia, “Eileen Chang” <http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Eileen_Chang> 2) China culture, “Eileen Chang’s life in brief” ;http://www. chinaculture. org/gb/en_artqa/2005-09/02/content_72379. htm; 3)??????? —-????? The Rouge of the North < http://www. fjfyxh. com/article. php? id=23116> 4) Chixui Chu, “On the Cultural Creativity in Fictions by Zhang-Ailing” <http://www. lw23. com/lunwen_426994732/> 5) Dongxia Cheng, “Analysis about Eiling Chang, the Gift Female Writer in Turbulent Days” <http://www. lw23. com/lunwen_742489492/> 6) www. studa. net <http://www. studa. net/dangdai/101115/13521726. html>
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