Wang Wenxing

Wang Wenxing
b. 1939, Taiwan
A graduate of National Taiwan University and the University of Iowa, Wang was a leading voice among the young writers who developed a modernist literary movement in the 1960s. After a series of experiments with point of view in provocative stories of childhood and violence that explored existential themes, Wang introduced a controversy with the novel Family Catastrophe (Jiabian, 1972). Depicting the evolution of a boy’s relationship with his parents, especially his growing dismay with his father that culminates in his abusiveness and the father’s disappearance, the novel presents alternating points of view in varying styles. The absence in the novel of an explicit moral vision puzzled or angered many readers, as did the innovative form. After nearly a decade, Wang produced a novel that again disturbed many readers, the first volume of Backed Against the Sea (Bei hai de ren, 1981), the often amusing and frequently vulgar monologue of a demobilized soldier turned fortune-teller commenting freely and explicitly on society and his life. Only in 1999 did the second volume of this novel appear, extending the author’s unique concern to effect a musical style through the written word. A professor at National Taiwan University, Wang’s criticism of literature and film is collected in Books and Images (Shu he ying, 1988).
Lupke, Christopher (1998). ‘Wang Wenxing and the “Loss” of China’. Boundary 2 25.2 (Fall): 97–128.
Wang, Wenxing (1993). Backed Against the Sea. Trans. Ed Gunn. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
——(1995). Family Catastrophe: A Modernist Novel Trans. Susan Wan Dolling. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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