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Eileen ChangRomancing Languages, Cultures and Genres$
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Louie Kam

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083794

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083794.001.0001

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Madame White, The Book of Change, and Eileen Chang: On a Poetics of Involution and Derivation

Madame White, The Book of Change, and Eileen Chang: On a Poetics of Involution and Derivation

Chapter:
(p.215) 11 Madame White, The Book of Change, and Eileen Chang: On a Poetics of Involution and Derivation
Source:
Eileen Chang
Author(s):
Kam Louie
Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888083794.003.0012

This chapter discusses Chang's aesthetic of revision and bilingualism by examining her two English novels, The Fall of the Pagoda and The Book of Change, These two novels were written in the late fifties, when Chang had just settled in the Unites States. In many ways, they provide a missing link in Chang's (re)writing of her own life story, from English to Chinese and vice versa, from lecture to fiction and photo album, and from autobiographical “whispers” to dramatized exposé. The two novels, one referring to the Leifeng Pagoda of the White Snake legend, and the other the esoteric classic The Book of Change, suggest Chang's effort to integrate her writings into a broader cycle of Chinese poetics of involution and derivation.

Keywords:   Involution, Derivativeness, Modernity, the I ching

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