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Writing Women in Northeast China: Melancholic Narrative in Mei Niang’s Novellas

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Mei Niang (1920–2013), the pen name of Sun Jiarui, is a female fiction writer, translator, and editor of Funü zazhi (Ladies’ journal). In the semi-colonial Northeast China, Mei Niang’s exploration of melancholic narratives shore up manifold levels of socio-historical discourses that are constructive of women’s subjectivity. Melancholic narrative functions as an inverted mirror of both the author’s cultural displacement from her diasporic experience, and her portrayal of colonial domination of local elites by the Japanese in Northeast China. Also, the author’s depiction of feminine melancholia revokes the modernist ideology of love and its constitutive male-centered discourses, dismantles the social disenfranchisement of women by feudal authority, social prejudices, and the eroding urban materialism. Stylistically, Mei Niang’s second-person texts reinforce the feminine authority in enunciation, and by articulating women’s emotions and afflictions, transmogrify the melancholic narrative into a mode of self-narration and self-empowerment.


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