Wang Zhenhe


Wang Zhenhe
b. 1940, Taiwan; d. 1990
Writer
Educated at National Taiwan University and the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, Wang was a staff writer for Taiwan Television for most of his career. While drawn to the techniques of the modernist fiction he studied, Wang was also an acute observer of vulgarity and of the basic needs of many Taiwanese, all the while writing scripts for popular and socially acceptable television productions. Wang’s fiction developed as a conflictual response to these varied aesthetic demands. In his earlier short fiction, Wang used modernist techniques in a series of intimate portrayals of socially neglected characters. In ‘An Oxcart for a Dowry’ (Jiazhuang yi niuche, 1967) he humorously combined linguistic registers in depicting a helplessly degraded peasant couple, establishing himself as a writer of social concern in the nativist ‘homeland literature’ movement; the story was adapted into film in 1987. Wang then turned to satirizing the rising middle class and its disregard for the needy—in ‘Xiao Lin in Taipei’ (Xiao Lin lai Taibei, 1973) and the novel, The Beauty Trap (Meiren tu, 1981), he saturated his socially respectable characters with vulgar language and puns.
Local Taiwanese language is heavily used in the satirical novel Rose, Rose, I Love You (Meigui, meigui, wo ai ni, 1984), which depicts the involvement of educated professionals during the 1960s in organizing and training prostitutes for American servicemen on leave from the Vietnam war.
Huang, I-min (1986). ‘A Postmodern Reading of Rose, Rose I Love You’. Tamkang Review 17.1:27–45.
Kinkley, Jeffrey (1992). ‘Mandarin Kitsch and Taiwanese Kitsch in the Fiction of Wang Chen-ho’. Modern Chinese Literature 6.1/2:85–114.
Wang, Zhenhe (1998). Rose, Rose I Love You. Trans. Howard Goldblatt. New York: Columbia University Press.
EDWARD GUNN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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