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Course Detail

Standard Academic Year
Course delivery methods
Historical & philosophical studies
College of Liberal Arts
Main Campus
Course Offering Year
Course Offering Month
February - June
Weekday and Period
Monday 3,4
Course Number
TwLit1034 (145E10440)

Introduction to Historical Fictions in Postwar Taiwan National Taiwan University

Course Overview

The brutal struggle between free will of humanity and historical force has long been a controversial and intriguing subject in the discussions of literature. The point, however, lies not in which side wins eventually, but in exploring what happens in the process of struggle. Viewed from the perspective of literary development, it is quite clear that each different literary movement in postwar Taiwan provides their own unique understanding of the relationship between man and history, between social agency and historical transformation, and ultimately between history and fiction. This course will be divided into four parts, and each of them dealing with specific historical issues or events. Historical Figures Fictionalized, the first part, deals with how historical figures, such as Song Qingling [宋慶齡] and Chen Yi [陳儀], are treated in fiction. History and (Post-)Colonialsim, the second part, as well as History and Politics, the third part, both try to discuss how past experiences have been represented from different ideological point of view by different writers. Finally, History and Social Movements, the fourth part, will take a close look at how writers explain the failure (or success) of certain social movements after they have long perished. In short, all the four parts try to explore the complicated interactions among history, human experience, and literary mind.

Learning Achievement

This course is designed, first of all, to make students better-informed and to understand better the national history of R.O.C. in both the mainland and Taiwan. Therefore, a variety of historical events happened in prewar Mainland China will be dealt with, for example, the Hsin-hai Revolution [辛亥革命] and its aftermath, the May Fourth Movement [五四運動], and the First and Second Chinese Civil Wars [國共戰]. Furthermore, although the course tries to examine the historical tragedies of Japanese Colonialism in Taiwan, it does not necessarily exclude the possibilities of reconciliation, especially in "A Pilgrimage to the Mountains" [〈朝山〉], the story written by aboriginal writer It Ta-os [伊替達歐索]. Besides the May Fourth Movements, the two major social movements to be discussed are the Protect Diaoyutai Island Movement [保釣運動] and the Sunflower Movement [太陽花運動], as reflected and recounted from the perspectives provided by writers like Chang Hsi-guo [張系國], Ping Lu [平路], and Chou Fen-ling [周芬伶]. A list of possible questions to be discussed and polemicized might include: What is the relationship between history and literary fiction? What is the nature of writers' historical vision? What is the role played by individuals in history? Can they resist the socio-political and economic forces of history? If these questions are answerable, hopefully historical fiction will be made more understandable, and also more valuable.


Course prerequisites

1. Class attendance is always important, and unexcused absences will affect grades. 2. Grades will be computed according to the following: mid-term paper (30%), final paper (30%), oral presentation and class participation (40%). 3. All participants are required to submit midterm and final papers with the minimum length of 3 pages of typed A 4 paper (single-spaced, 5 pages maximum). 4. In most cases, midterm and final papers are written on the basis of oral presentations, but the writing should follow the academic format with which the students are the most familiar (for example, MLA or APA). 5. The frequency of oral presentations will depend on the number of the students who are enrolled in.

Grading Philosophy

Course schedule

Course type

Online Course Requirement


Rong-Bin Chen

Other information

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