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Under and Beyond the Pen of Eileen Chang: Shanghai, Nanyang, Huaqiao, and Greater China

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image of Frontiers of History in China

Although Eileen Chang, one of China’s most popular twentieth-century writers, never visited Nanyang (lit., the South Sea, referring principally to Southeast Asia), Nanyang and huaqiao (Chinese sojourners) are mentioned frequently in her writings. This essay first analyzes Chang’s images of Nanyang and huaqiao, and then discusses the societal and individual contexts of her literary conceptualizations by tracing her direct and indirect knowledge of these themes. Chang’s imagination of Nanyang and huaqiao, examined within the historical context of Sino-Nanyang interactions, provides a valuable opportunity to discuss the emergence of a nationalist-driven huaqiao community and the expansion of Sino-Nanyang interactions before the Pacific War.

Affiliations: 1: History Department, National University of Singapore


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