新华文学中的现代主义，1965-2000年 = A study of modernism in Singapore Chinese literature, 1965-2000
Liw, Pei Kien
Date of Issue2014
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This dissertation is an investigation into the history and development of modernism in the field of Singapore Chinese Literature by various Singapore Chinese authors between the years 1965 to 2000. The first chapter, the introduction of the research, defines and analyzes the various components of the research topic: literature review, clarification of the theoretical background, research methodology, materials for research, its structure and an outline of the dissertation. The second chapter, focusing on the definition of Modernism, is divided into two sections. The first section traces the origin and development of Modernism in the West, followed by its paradoxical connection with modernity. The next section identifies the derivation of Chinese modernism in the context of both China and Taiwan during the period 1910 to 1949, and 1950 to 1980 respectively. The third chapter focuses on the historical context of modernism in the field of Singapore Chinese Literature. The discussion is divided into three sections: firstly, it explains the onset of modernism in Malayan Chinese literature; secondly, it describes the reception and influence of Taiwan’s modernism; and thirdly, it illustrates the evolution of modernism in Singapore Chinese literature from four angles: its confrontation with realism; arguments in the context of Malaya-Singapore Chinese Literature; Supplementary, Quarterly, Periodicals and their editing strategies; arguments in the context of Singapore Chinese Literature. The fourth and fifth chapters focus on literary production and dissemination, including establishment of literary societies, their activities, achievements and publications, including editing norms, strategies and style. The fourth chapter is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on the establishment of the Nanyang University Poetry Society and its periodical “The Mangrove”, its origins of modernism, emergence of musical poetry and its performance, the modernist style of “The Mangrove”. The second section focuses on the development of May Poetry Society and its quarterly “May Poetry”, its expansion of modernism, individual and collective construction of the cannon from its publication, its promotion of activities and dissemination of modernism. The third section focuses on the establishment of The Aljunied Creative Writing & Translation Group and its periodical “Stratosphere”, its deepening of modernism, its pluralistic experiment of activities, including performance of musical poetry, exhibition of Malayan-Singapore Chinese literary history, the “Stratosphere” edition and its series of publication. The fifth chapter examines the editors’ strategies and their devising of the styles of their periodical, quarterly and supplementary. It consists of four aspects: firstly, “Bulanan Chao Foon” as a hinterland for Malayan’s modernism; secondly, from “Teahouse Fortnightly” to “Encounter” as a laboratory for literary theories in modernism; thirdly, “Plaza”, “Weathercock” and “Afterwards” as a movement of little Magazines; and, lastly, “fu diao” and “wen lin” supplementary in Nanyang Siang Pau as a modernist castle in Chinese newspaper. The sixth to the tenth chapters focus on the diverse representations of modernism in Singapore Chinese literature. The sixth chapter highlights the pioneers and their experiments in modernism, emphasizing on the group of writers in the “generation of 1968”, and analyzing their modern consciousness and practices in literary works. The influence and impact of Wong Woon Wah’s literary works and his criticism of modernism in Singapore Chinese literature are discussed. The seventh chapter examines the engagement with Chinese culture and tradition in modernism, emphasizing the poems written by Liang Yue, Guo Yong Xiu, Hua Zhi Feng and Tu Nan Fa. The eighth chapter focuses on dreamland in Taiwan’s context and the search for modernism. Firstly, the literary works of Chua Chim Kang are examined in terms of its creation of the “Taipei image”, its style, the practice of human consciousness and the writing strategy used in his prose. Secondly, Yin Song Wei’s “Dwell in writing” as a form of unique writing style that based itself inherently on the concept of existence is explored. It also highlights the impact from Mu Xin and Lo Chih Cheng, both inspirational writers from mainland China and Taiwan, who have significant influence on Yin Song Wei’s aesthetic experience and writing techniques. The ninth chapter examines the modernist narrative strategy of Yeng Pway Ngon’s novellas, with emphasis placed on the use of absurdity, black humor, multiple transfers of narrative point of view, psychological realism and intellectual introspection and reflection, the "Visual" narrative and "Confession" in discourse, meta-fiction and polyphonic structures. The tenth chapter examines the experience in modernity of the solitary self, considering existentialism and exploring cultural identity in Kuo Pao Kun’s drama, highlighting the use of various techniques and their effects, including ‘dream’, the absurdity of existence, the search of self, and the anxiety and fear of the loss of identity, the use of peripheral imagery such as the marginalization of the mother tongue, tradition, idealism, wisdom of knowledge, the "drift" and "emasculation" of double marginalization, the reconstruction of the individual and the collective memory, and again from the search of self to collectiveness. The concluding chapter summarizes the key points of the chapters and presents the findings of this research and identifies the construction of pluralistic paradigm and changes in the modernism of Singapore Chinese literature. It is hoped that this research has contributed to a new understanding in the construction of modernity in Singapore Chinese Literature. Analyzing modernity from a different perspective might invite more discussion and research in future, and so enrich the literary development of modernism in Singapore Chinese literature. Yet, the exploration of modernity is still an incomplete journey.