In/Visible Peoples, In/Visible Lands: Overlapping Histories in Wang Chia-hsiang’s Historical Fantasy

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Abstract

This essay considers two narrative texts by the nature essayist and fiction writer Wang Chia-hsiang (Wang Jiaxiang); namely, the short story collection titled On Lamatasinsin and Dahu Ali (1995), and the novella Mystery of the Little People (1996). Structured round ethnographic journeys into the Taiwanese mountainous hinterland, the texts concern the main protagonists, two earnest (Han) Taiwanese ethnographers, who narrate stories that traverse the island’s histories, lands, and written remnants. The paper argues that the two stories purposefully overlap multiple historical, colonial and environmental encounters and temporal moments as a means to fictionalise the past as inherently heterarchical. The tales thus fabulise new literary spaces in which the Taiwanese relationship to yesteryear -- the peoples, the lands -- can be cognised alternatively.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Taiwan Studies
Early online date20 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019