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Ecological Redistribution and Historical Sustainability in Wu Ming-yi's Two Novels



This paper discusses how literary imagination reflects on and intervenes in the discussion of sustainability and makes Taiwan studies sustainable on a global scale in Taiwanese writer Wu Ming-yi's two novels, The Man with the Compound Eyes (Fuyan ren 複眼人) and The Stolen Bicycle (Danche shiqie ji 單車失竊記). Drawing on contemporary theories of ecocriticism in conjunction with French philosopher Jacques Ranciere's theorization of "redistribution," this paper argues that The Man with the Compound Eyes performs an act of "ecological redistribution" through which it not only actively engages in global production of environmental literature but also critiques the Han-centered historiography and settler multiculturalism in the local context of Taiwan. Furthermore, by re-conceptualizing interethnic representation in The Stolen Bicycle and placing this novel into integrated world history, I contend that Wu's novel challenges the colonial hierarchy structuring the relationship between the anthropologist and the ethnographic object by depicting an interethnic encounter between a Han novelist and an indigenous photographer. In so doing, The Stolen Bicycle demonstrates the potentiality of "historical sustainability" by revisiting the period of World War II in order to show the complexity of Taiwan's history and its multiple connections with world history, or more precisely, Taiwan's "sustainable relations" with the world. Thus, in Wu's literary imagination and intervention, the relationship between Taiwan and the world is always in the process of becoming, always resilient, renewable, and sustainable.

Parallel abstracts

本文以吳明益《複眼人》與《單車失竊記》兩部長篇小說,思考小說創造的文學想像如何參與並介入當代關於「永續性」(sustainability)之相關論述,並透過全球性的視角思索台灣研究如何能夠永續發展的諸多議題。就方法學而言,本文首先爬梳西方當代生態批評(ecocriticism)的相關理論,並結合法國哲學家洪席耶(Jacques Rancière)所論述的「再分配」(redistribution)之政治/美學概念,演繹出「生態再分配」(ecological redistribution)與「歷史永續性」(historical sustainability)兩軌理論軸線來分別閱讀吳明益的兩部文學作品。本文認為,《複眼人》所展現的「生態再分配」不僅有意識地藉著台灣在地文學想像積極地投入當代的全球生態文學生產,彰顯台灣在全球生態文學圖景中獨特的文學風貌,更同時反思並批判台灣漢人中心的族群書寫以及定居者多元文化主義(settler multiculturalism)論述的侷限。《單車失竊記》藉由小說人物交織而成的原-漢跨族群相遇,一方面挑戰了漢人定居者主流文本中經常複製的、傳統人類學裡人類學家與研究客體間構建的殖民階層關係,另一方面企圖以一種整體性世界史的視域來描繪二戰時期台灣的跨族群互動及其與世界史之間錯綜纏繞的複雜性。小說所呈現族群與族群之間、台灣與世界之間在歷史進程中多元而繁複之關係性,使台灣與世界得以建立一種動態的、持續變動的,亦是倫理層次上更對等互惠的永續關係,即是本文嘗試論述之「歷史永續性」。


Chou, Shiuhhuah Serena. “Wu’s The Man with the Compound Eyes and the Worlding of Environmental Literature.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, vol. 16, no. 4, 2014, dx.doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.2554
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