Special Topics: Issue 39

Taiwan Classical Literature during the Cold War Era

The Cold War era arose after 1947 amidst growing global political and economic competition between the “Free World” and the “Communist Bloc” of nations led, respectively, by the United States and the Soviet Union, with each trying to strategically contain and isolate the other. After definitively shaping world affairs for nearly half a century, this era finally came to a close with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Cold War competition not only exacerbated armed civil conflicts such as the Chinese Civil War, Korean War, and Vietnam War but also led to the embrace of propaganda as a respectable medium for winning “hearts and minds” on the cultural Cold War front. Literature and other writings framed by cultural Cold War ideas and imperatives have been gaining increased attention from scholars and researchers around the world. In Asia, scholars working in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore have already generated large volumes of research on a great diversity of topics touching on political-propaganda-related institutions, magazines and journals, books, radio programs, and film and television production. In Taiwan also, much ink has been spent on the Cold War’s influence on, for example, literature and journalism as well as the role and influence of the United States Information Service (USIS). However, its influence on contemporary classical literature during this period remains largely unexplored.

   The classical literature genre in Taiwan came under pressure from two primary fronts during the Cold War era. Firstly, national Mandarin-language promotion policies challenged related authors to adapt traditional literary forms and conventions to survive and make their mark on the postwar literary landscape. Secondly, the classical literary genre was challenged to “get with the times” by reflecting contemporary issues such as US-Soviet tensions and the patriotic mission to liberate communist-occupied China in its writings. In this spirit, overseas Chinese authors worldwide as well were called upon to join in the resistance against Red China and the restoration of the Chinese nation. Taiwan classical literature published during this period in newspapers, magazines, poetry journals, and other media clearly reflect these influences. The myriad of facets and dimensions that define Taiwan classical literature written and published during the Cold War both at home and abroad make this genre a fertile area for research and investigation.
We welcome authors to submit articles on topics, including:

1. The development of Cold War-era Taiwan classical literature

2. The form and character of Cold War-era Taiwan classical literature

3. The goals / discourse of Cold War-era Taiwan classical literature

4. Important periodicals for Taiwan classical literature during the Cold War

5. The relationship between Taiwan and overseas literary circles during the Cold War

6. Comparisons of trends in contemporary classical and modern Taiwan literature during the Cold War

7. Other relevant subjects and topics

 (Deadline for submission: June 30th, 2024)