China has never lacked for great writers. It has a 5000-year tradition of letters that includes some of the greatest poetry ever written - rip-roaring epic adventure, gripping family sagas, great romance, keen satire, world's best essays, frisky tales of the supernatural and even knock-your-little-bound-foot-shoes-off erotica - and all that before the vernacular revolution of the early 20th century.
The freedom to write Chinese as it was spoken, following the May Fourth Movement of 1919, spawned an explosion of literary talent that wars and revolutions helped spread across the Chinese diaspora, to Taiwan and beyond. Yet these upheavals also brought about regimes that have had their own strong and enforceable opinions on what writers should and should not be writing.
Wednesday, 30 August 2006
Linda Jaivin takes a look at Chinese authors who prefer writing in a language other than Chinese: