Exploring pragmatic romance in Eileen Chang’s fiction
Lim, Eunice Ying Ci
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Eileen Chang (1920 – 1995) is a Chinese writer who occupies an exceptional position in Modern Literature. This dissertation sets out to introduce her to those who are unfamiliar with her work, and will explore Chang’s treatment of women and the issues of pragmatism and romance in three examples of her fiction – the two novellas “Lust, Caution” (1979), “Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier” (first published in May 1943, and henceforth referred to as “Aloeswood Incense”), as well as one of Chang’s short stories “Sealed Off” (first published in November 1943). Situating her narratives in China’s turbulent modernity of the 1940s, Chang’s works demonstrate the ways in which the conditions of Chinese modernity produced in human relationships a phenomenon of pragmatic romance and the female roles amidst the inherent conflicts of such a phenomenon. This dissertation examines Chang’s treatment of pragmatic romance, her representations of female and male protagonists, and some aspects of her technique, in particular her temporal-spatial strategies.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University